Sunday, April 29, 2012
Any Penn Relays where Villanova comes away with a win is a success, so one mustn't dwell on the lack of wins after the first day. The win was an important one too, with Sheila Reid, one of the greatest runners in Villanova history finally tasting glory in Franklin Field, which was the only thing she had yet to achieve in her Villanova career. It makes me very sad that a majority of current Villanova students remain unaware of her accomplishments, because her career here has been a special one, and it's not yet over as she still has two conference championships and at least one NCAA Championship to defend (schedule permitting).
On the men's side, there was no repeat of the DMR Championship, but a team with three freshmen and one sophomore lent a credible performance, finishing sixth, not far ahead of the winner. The 4x800 relay featuring three underclassmen and one senior also finished well, a second off the winners from Penn State. Hopefully we'll see improvement next year.
My thoughts from attending on Saturday
- TV doesn't do justice as to how fast professional sprinters are, even when they're running the 400m dash.
- Villanova's cheering section was awesome. I was two sections away, but I got goosebumps.
- Jamaicans were everywhere. Never saw anybody smoking a J though, so that was disappointing.
- It makes me sad that Villanova hasn't had a competitive mile relay in over 20 years. Someone make that happen.
- I was happy that Princeton did well, they had a great cheering section there and they weren't Oregon.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
As soon as Nicky Akande (whose 2:04.X 800 leg was the best leg of the entire race) handed the baton to Sheila Reid, I knew it was over. That's the best way to sum up the last year for Sheila Reid. In track, nothing is ever automatic, but Sheila is automatic in a college race. I think the anchor for Tennessee knew she was a sitting duck. I mean she had to, the way that she slowed the pace down so dramatically against one of the greatest pure kickers in the history of American collegiate track. It's like handing Mariano Rivera the ball in the bottom of the ninth inning with a three run lead, it's a sure thing. That is why Sheila Reid is one of my all time favorite Villanova athletes.
Props goes to Emily Lipari and Christie Verdier, who set an early tone in the race, especially since they were involved in an embarrassing baton mishap last year which cost Villanova a chance at the DMR title. They both kicked ass today, and Verdier's 52.8 400 split is the fastest I can remember a Villanova running that distance.
Left to right: Christie Verdier, Sheila Reid, Emily Lipari, Nicky Akande
Finally, Sheila Reid will collect her watch. More to come on this later. More photos after the jump.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Sheila Reid has won just about everything there is to win at Villanova from conference championships to big invitational meets and even national championships, but the one thing she hasn't done is win a Penn Relays watch. If you don't already understand the relationship Villanova has with the Penn Relays, you won't understand, but to a Villanova runner, the Penn Relays has always been the single most important event of the year. Even though Villanova aren't the hosts, it is very much their "home meet" based on the way they have performed historically. Villanova has won more Penn Relays titles than any other school by a two-to-one margin, and on four different occasions, Villanova has won five wheels in the same meet, the last time being in 1978. Simply, if you never make it to the Penn Relays, that's a real shame.
College Men's Distance Medley Relay (Friday): Villanova are the defending champions in this event (photo above) and have won this event a ridiculous 24 times, more than any other school in any event at the relays. The lineup may look somewhat different, even though three of the four legs of the relay are back. Only one leg from last year is guaranteed to return, Sam Ellison in the third (800m) leg. Leading off (1200m) will either be last year's first leg Brian Tetreault or true freshman Rob Denault. While Tetreault obviously has experience, Denault has more upside, as he's arguably the best Canadian middle distance runner younger than 20 years old, and could conceivably represent his country this season at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, where he would probably be beaten by a Kenyan who is 25 years old. Denault is the top true freshman at Villanova, men or women. On the second leg (400m), the runner who is most in form is true freshman Bryan Murphy, and he ran that leg at the indoor NCAA Championships. The third leg will be run by the aforementioned Ellison, who has the pure speed and strength that make him an excellent 800 runner, especially in relays, as demonstrated by this kick at Big East indoors this season. On the anchor leg (1600m) will be indoor All-American and sub-4 minute miler Sam McEntee, who has demonstrated that he can anchor the DMR when he did so at the Armory this winter. This team has a chance to repeat, but it will be difficult, and they'll need strong efforts from both the lead off and second legs in order to make that happen.
College Women's DMR (Thursday): Last year, a catastrophic baton exchange between the first and second legs of the race crippled the Villanova women's DMR. The fact that the event was won by arch-rival Georgetown was only salt in the wound. This year, hopefully the relay of Emily Lipari, Christie Verdier, Nicky Akande and the aforementioned Reid (possibly Bogdana Mimic or Ariann Neutts) will be competitive at the end, if only to kick the elephant out of the room. Other major competitors should be Oregon, UConn, Tennessee and defending champs Georgetown.
Other relays and my lineup assumptions
- Brian Tetreault
- Chris FitzSimons
- Rob Denault/Sam McEntee
- Sam Ellison
- Emily Lipari
- Ariann Neutts/Stephanie Schappert
- Nicky Akande
- Sheila Reid
- Mathew Mildenhall
- Rob Denault
- Brian Tetreault/Joseph LoRusso/Ryan Sheridan/Hugo Beamish/Chris FitzSimons
- Sam McEntee
- Emily Lipari
- Ariann Neutts/Nicky Akande
- Bogdana Mimic
- Sheila Reid
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Vague approximation of Dylan Ennis
Former Rice guard Dylan Ennis announced today that he will be transferring to Villanova, filling yet another spot vacated by
misguided decisions players turning pro. As per usual, Ennis will be required to sit out one season to fulfill NCAA transfer obligations, blah blah blah. Welcome to Villanova, Dylan.
Monday, April 23, 2012
After an NBA career where he was constantly written off and unfairly compared to (the now retired) Brandon Roy, my favorite player Randy Foye has finally come into his own this season for The Clippers. Last night, Foye scored 24 points on six(!) three pointers.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
According to the Philadelphia Daily News, former Wake Forest guard Tony Chennault will transfer to Villanova, and an announcement could be made as early as this week. This is notable because the Neumann-Goretti HS product is thought to be seeking a hardship waiver from the NCAA based on his mothers apparent poor health. If granted such a waiver, it would allow Chennault to play for Villanova immediately rather than waiting a year, as is usual with transfers.
If all of this is true, I would like to extend my welcome to Tony, and hope that he isn't unfairly compared to other great guards from Philadelphia that have played at Villanova.. :cough: comparing Maalik to Kyle Lowry :cough: .
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Despite jumping out to an early 4-0 lead, and holding a 4-2 lead at halftime, Villanova couldn't hold on and allowed Notre Dame to outscore them 10-3 for the rest of the game. More on this tomorrow after I watch the full game again.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Tonight at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, California, current Villanova runners Sheila Reid (Canada) and Bogdana Mimic (Serbia) will compete in the 5000m while Emily Lipari (New York) compete in the 1500m. Also due to compete are Villanova alums Frances Koons in the 5000, Nicole Schappert in the 1500 and Marina Muncan in the mile. The results in this competition are largely irrelevant as far as positions are concerned because these meets are set up to achieve Olympic qualifying standards. The most important times to remember for tonight are 15:20 and 15:30, because those are the 'A' and 'B' qualifying standards in the women's 5000m for the London Olympics. Reid will likely need to hit the 'A' standard to qualify for the Olympics due to the relative strength of Canada, but it's conceivable that Mimic could make it in if she only runs the 'B' standard because it's not a guarantee that another Serbian woman will get the standard in the 5000.
Schedule (converted to Eastern Time)
Women's 1500m (Schappert, Lipari) 10:00 PM
Women's Elite Mile (Muncan) 10:12 PM
Women's Elite 5000m (Reid, Mimic, Koons) 10:40 PM
Thursday, April 19, 2012
I'm watching you
Something that I see every day that really bothers me is fans of all schools tweeting at recruits asking them to go to a particular school. It's worse at places like Kentucky, Kansas and big football schools, but Villanova is not immune to this. I'm not sure if most people know this, but simply doing this is an NCAA violation (albeit a minor one) that can affect a school's ability to recruit a particular player. Once you beg a kid to go to your school, you cease being a fan in Villanova's eyes and you become a booster, which the NCAA doesn't like, unless the school is UCLA under John Wooden, but that's a different story.
Just yesterday, I caught a kid begging Dylan Ennis to go to Villanova. Once I saw it, I promptly called the person in question out and he deleted it. All I'm asking is for others to do the same. If you see this stuff, tell the people who are doing it to cut it out. There's no need to badger kids into making a decision, because the chances are they don't care in the first place. We need to stop this obsession with who might come to Villanova and focus on the kids when they sign on the dotted line and officially enter the program.
So start letting people know that they're not allowed to do this, it's annoying.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
@Dom_Cheek23 looking good as he continues to get ready for his draft workouts!
— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) April 17, 2012
That's about as nice as you can be when one of your charges makes such a boneheaded decision. All Jay needs to do is start kissing babies and he'd have the politician gig down.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
This guy (Michael Gbinije):
Stop making the comparison between Michael Gbinije and Taylor King.. It's not at all constructive, and just makes you look ignorant.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Whenever I think of ill advised decisions to turn pro, I immediately think back to Lenny Cooke, a player who shares many parallels with Dominic Cheek. Both Cheek and Cooke were six foot six blue chip recruit wing players from Northern New Jersey. At the 2001 ABCD Camp, Cooke made LeBron James look human. Like Cheek, he could have gone to whatever college he wanted. Cooke took the road less traveled and declared for the 2002 NBA Draft, but went undrafted, and never played in a single NBA game. After an itinerant career in the US and abroad, Lenny Cooke is out of basketball entirely a mere ten years after he made that fateful decision.
My greatest fear is that Cheek could make the same mistake. Both players have huge amounts of talent, but they did not have the requisite size or perimeter game to give them any leeway. If you're six foot six and expect to play in the NBA, you had better have at least one special area of skill, and neither Cheek nor Cooke had those, so they were just thrown into a group of 100 similar players who are already in the league. If you're seven feet tall, you can get away with being less skilled, but the fact is that Dominic Cheek is not unique in any way, and that's the problem.
Cheek is making a mistake, and I hope it doesn't ruin his life like it did to Lenny Cooke.
Friday, April 13, 2012
After a full week of games in the 2012 season, former Villanova football star Matt Szczur is having a rough go of it as a member of the Hi-A Daytona Cubs. Despite his being ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in Minor League Baseball by several sources, I've long felt that Szczur has some glaring weaknesses in his game, most notably his lack of power, something that is necessary if he is going to be anything except a fifth outfielder or utility infielder. Basically, he needs to show something that he hasn't shown in a long time, or he might be better suited giving football another try. Through his first seven games, Szczur has only four hits in 26 at-bats, all of which have been singles. A positive sign has been the fact that he has walked five times already, which matches the number of walks he drew in 43 games last season in Daytona after his mid-season promotion.
There is definitely room for improvement, and this is indeed a small sample size, but it's still discouraging given the amount of time he spent last season at the same level.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
As a response to the concerns of their Radnor Neighbors, Villanova University has made alterations to their expansion plans. When reached for comment this afternoon, a Villanova spokesman said "We thought that the residents might recognize our mission without making this a matter of litigation, which we're confident that we would win, especially since we are a religious organization." A rendering of the revised plan is available below.
A spokesman for the Right Plan for Radnor, the principal opponents of Villanova's plans did not respond to our requests for comment at this time.
Monday, April 9, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
That's just poor. Oh well, you got the points. There's no way that Isaiah Thomas should be able to get even close to your shot. I won't get too angry though, since Randy had 25 points on seven threes in the game.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I remember sitting in The Pavilion during Hoops Mania 2008 knowing full well that a blue chip recruit from St. Anthony High School by the name of Dominic Cheek was in the crowd, and this was our opportunity to impress him. Chants of "We Want Cheek" rang out throughout the crowd as we made our push to land Cheek, which was successful, and the fan base rejoiced when he committed, thinking that Villanova had just landed the next Kerry Kittles. My feelings upon Cheek's seemingly inevitable departure amount to nothing more than utter indifference. Not because I had unreasonable expectations for Cheek, but because I found him to be the single most frustrating player to watch in my 18 seasons as a Villanova fan and that is not an exaggeration or a statement made because of spite as I have been saying that for quite some time.
Now this isn't to say that I don't wish Cheek luck, or that I'm happy he's gone, because I'm not. I think that he could have been a valid contributor to the team next year, and I would like to see him graduate, because that's what Villanova does: graduate its basketball players. In all likelihood though, Cheek will never graduate from Villanova, and that's the only thing that bothers me about Cheek leaving.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
Connection? Who Knows
Tonight's national championship is a bit of a nightmare. The two most obnoxious and entitled fan bases in all of college basketball are about to meet for a national championship game that makes me about as excited as I would be if I contracted dysentery. Despite my normal disdain for their team, I will be rooting my ass off for Kansas, not just because John Calipari is one of the scummiest coaches ever, but because he always gets away with it, and is even rewarded for doing so by getting promoted, only to leave his former schools as shells of what they were during his last season due to various NCAA sanctions. Now, with he "one and done" players so prevalent after the NBA changed the rules for draft eligibility, he has made a mockery of college basketball by accepting several players each season that would have gone pro in seasons past. Yet, he isn't punished for the fact that none of his players graduate, and that's an even bigger travesty than the fact that they're all getting paid.
The scariest thing about all of this is the fact that major violations aren't even close to a new occurrence at Kenutcky. The basketball team at Kentucky was almost permanently banned after a point shaving scandal in 1951. In the 80's, Eddie Sutton was doing what Eddie Sutton does, was caught, but Kentucky rebounded as soon as Rick Pitino took over. The fact that this is a program with such a historic disregard for the rules should make a guy with a history like Calipari easier to nail, right? Wrong. Calipari is so skilled at what he does, that he is so effectively able to make his own players the scapegoats for the violations that occur at every school he coaches at, showing that he is either willfully blind or flat out stupid. The way that Calipari has every media member in his hand shows that he isn't stupid.
Sunday, April 1, 2012
In a stunning development that goes against what I had reported back in December, McDonalds All-American forward Amile Jefferson was the perfect ploy for me to pull an April Fools joke on all of you. I'm sorry if I got your hopes up, but I really don't think Villanova has much of a chance.