American athletic director Joni Comstock is leaving the school to take a position as senior vice president for championships and senior women's administrator with the NCAA.
Comstock's departure is the second significant loss in AU's athletic adminstration in recent months. In July, Ed McLaughlin, AU's former Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs, left to become AD at Niagara.
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Paulis Joneliunas, back home on European soil, posted a 16-point, 12-board double-double as American opened its tour with a 79-68 loss to the Gent Dragons THursday.
Arvydas Eitutavicius (16) and Linas Lekavicius (10) were also in double figures for Lithuanian, err. .. American.
Otherwise, not a pretty night. AU shot 36 percent from the field, just 16 percent from 3-point range. Not suprising given it was the Eagles first game since March.
Chuckle moment: The school's press release mentions "Former AU great Raimondas Petrauskas was in attendance." When Petrauskas was last sen in the states, he was averaging 8.6 ppg as a senior at AU. Not shabbly, but come on, certainly not "great."
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That is right, our cult hero/basketball vagabond is apparently back in the states to take another shot with the fledgling American Basketball Association, this time as a part of something called the Las Vegas Venom.
When last spotted, Fingleton, a one-time Mickey D's All American who spent a year on the far end of Ralph Willard's bench at Holy Cross after failing to excite folks at North Carolina, was playing for a bad British third division club after having failed in an attempt to latch on with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League.
This will be Fingleton's second go-round with the ABA. He appeared in six games with the Boston Frenzy in the 2004-05 season, averaging 3.6 points and 2.4 rebounds.
A guy by the name of Mark Katz is not happy with Dayton's schedule for the upcoming season.
Katz, who writes for the Dayton Daily News, says a schedule with games against the likes of Louisville, Creighton, Pittsburgh and North Carolina is not challenging enough and complains about the Flyers' home slate, which includes Yale (last season's RPI 197), South Carolina State (218), Western Carolina (264), SMU (269), Grambling (282) and North Carolina A&T (324), as if Duke and Kentucky are willing to go there to play.
He is entitled to his opinion certainly. But doesn't he owe it to his readers to at least exhibit a semblance of a clue?
Why do we care about this column, you ask? Because after dissing the six home games mentioned above, he goes on to write:
I'm not even going to complain about those big games with Holy Cross and Austin Peay. You've got to have some games on the schedule everybody knows you're going to win.
Hey Mark, here is a newsflash: Last season Austin Peay had an RPI of 155, a number dragged down by its conference schedule. Out of conference AP was 79.
Holy Cross' RPI was 111, after the Crusaders' third 20-win season in the past four.
Dayton, 14-17 a year ago, finished with an RPI of 183, despite playing in the higher ranked Atlantic 10.
Given the players Holy Cross has back, and the trouble Ralph Willard's teams are known to cause with their defense, especially against teams not familiar with the Crusaders, this game is anything but one "everybody knows you are going to win."
When Colgate announced its upcoming trip to Spain, the school's release made a big deal out of the fact that Jon Simon is a Spanish major, as if academics were a priority in the team's destination for a summer trip.
The WWLIS bought that line, hook-line-and-sinker, in its summer session (link in post below). We were more skeptical. So we asked Colgate Emmett Davis about the upcoming trip, where the Raiders will play five games against Spanish club teams.
Turns out, Simon's major was a pleasant afterthought, not a factor in determing the destination. The reason Davis chose Spain was the caliber of the competition there and a desire for a different destination that the Raiders last trip, taken before the 2001-2002 season, to Germany and Belgium.
Davis said he also considered a trip to Ireland, but chose Spain for the better competition. He had planned to take another European visit either this summer or next, and decided on this summer, not because Simon will graduate, but because he wanted a chance for his team, which essentially includes six new faces, to gel.
Two of those new faces are incoming freshmen, and cannot make the trip under NCAA rules. But transfers Willie Morse (St. Bonaventure) and Daniel Waddy (St. Mary's) can. The other two new faces Davis referred to are Alex Woodhouse, a 6-8 pogo who missed all of last season with a knee injury and 6-4 swingman Tim Pounds, who was ineligible last season due to a deficit of credits caused by his withdrawal from school as a freshman (due to a personal situation at home).
"The focus is to go over there and get better -- 10 days of practice and five games," Davis said. "Hopefully we can go over there and get a nice head start, especially offensively, as we head into the season."
As for Simon's Spanish skills: "He made me nervous today," Davis said. "He said he has his dictionary along."
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No surprises on the Bucknell schedule released this morning, at least not in terms of opponents. Most of these games were already known because of opponents having released their schedules previously.
Testament to how tough it was to get teams to come to Sojka Pavilion this season, the Bison have just three out of conference home games: the previously announced Nov. 14 date with Wake Forest, the BracketBuster payback with Northern Iowa (Dec. 2) and a home date in this year's BracketBuster (Feb. 17).
Of particular interest is the timing of the George Mason game at the Verizon Center in D.C. It will be played Sunday, Dec. 3, giving the Bison back-to-back games against high profile mid major foes on consecutive days.
The schedule release also notes the possibility of one more game being added.
Not a lot to quibble with in the piece, which focuses mostly on the high expectations Bucknell has created. Not much news in the piece by Andy Glockner, either. Nothing against Glockner, who is very knowledgeable about the game overall, but we can't help but wish ESPN had let our old buddy Kyle Whelliston do this piece.
Glockner is a power conference guy. Whelliston knows the mid majors almost as well as he knows soy milk and Boca Burgers, and knows a lot more about the Patriot League than major conference types. It's hard to imagine, for example, Whelliston hearkening back two seasons to Bucknell's wins at Pitt and Saint Joe's, instead of mentioning wins like Syracuse and DePaul from last season as examples of what the Bison have done out of conference.
We also doubt Whelliston would speculate Lehigh might be better on offense with an incoming freshman running the point than it was last season with Joe Knight, or even Mitch Gilfillan, who might have been the most underrated senior in the league.
Glockner also seems a little dismissive of Colgate, who has an awful lot of talent back this season.
Perhaps the part of this piece we found most interesting was a quote by Lehigh coach Billy Taylor in the sidebr:
"[Success in the nonconference schedule] is very important. Bucknell was able to do a great thing and Holy Cross has been able to fare very well in those nonconference games against some higher-conference opponents. That's where we still have room to grow. We want to be very consistent in our challenging of nonconference opponents and win one of those games, two of those games, which will give us [more] confidence going into conference play. We've done well in the Patriot League, but doing better in the nonconference games [is the next step.]"
Add a Nov. 25 trip to Philadelphia to the Midshipmen's travel plans for the coming season. That is when the Mids will face Villanova.
It's a one-game deal, though Billy Lange said he hopes to entice Jay Wright to bring the Wildcats to Annapolis in the future. Lange was an assistant to Wright at Nova before taking over the Navy program two seasons ago.
The addition of the Villanova game is a big upgrade to the Midshipmen's out of conference schedule. That schedule has been criticized by some folks on message boards, but as Lange points out, it is plenty challenging for a team that will have 10 freshmen and sophomores on the roster.
"It is not as challenging as Bucknell's, but we're not Bucknell," Lange said.
Lange's roster will include only one senior, 6-6 forward Calvin White, who has played in but 21 games in his first three seasons and has seen just 27 minutes of playing time since logging 84 minutes in 9 games, including a start, as a plebe.
Realistically, White is not expected to be a factor on the floor this season, leaving the on floor leadership burden to juniors Greg Sprink, Corey Johnson and Ben Biles.
Would-be seniors Carlton Baldwin and David Rhoiney have left the program. Baldwin, who started 10 games last season and logged a lot of minutes in the post, especially after Matt Fannin was injured, has left the academy. Rhoiney has quit basketball to concentrate on track.
Casey Reed, who averaged 11 minutes of action in 27 games last season, including three starts, will also not return. Reed has decided to transfer.
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For those not quite up to speed, Holden, a two-time All-Patriot League pick (1997, 1998), has had a stellar career overseas and currently plays for the Russian powerhouse CKSA. Holden's play in Russia has been so impressive, the Russian president Vladimir Putin gave Holden citizenship so he could play for the Russian national team.
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For those of you who lack the sophisticated language skills possessed by those of us who have bookmarked the AltaVista Babel Fish Translation, that headline translates roughly to "Colgate heading to Spain."