Friday, December 20, 2013

Smeathers to Transfer from Butler to Mount

Exciting news for the program yesterday when Andy Smeathers announced his intentions to join the Mount from Butler. Smeathers a 6-6 wing, spent his first two years with the Bulldogs after an all-state high school career in Indiana.

Smeathers decided to transfer just prior to the start of the season this year, and therefore will have 1 and half years of eligibility with the Mount. He will arrive on campus in the next few weeks and begin classes in January. He will be eligible at the completion of the fall semester next year. This year's fall semester has already been completed. Therefore, if the Mount had any midseason transfers this year they would be eligible starting with the game on Sunday at Penn State. Marshall transfer Chris Martin will be eligible to play at the start of next season.

Smeathers averaged 15 points a game during his senior season at Center Grove. He chose home state Butler over Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, Indiana State, Miami (Oh) and William & Mary in 2010. You may recall that Mount head coach and assistant Ben Wilkins were both on the Tribe staff then. So it can be assumed that the two of them participated in the recruitment of Smeathers at that time. The IndyStar reported today that Smeathers chose the Mount over IUPUI this time around.

The wing's top ability coming out of high school was his ability to shoot the ball from the deep. He twice knocked down 7 three pointers in a high school game. He played in the Indiana Kentucky All-Star summer series after his senior year. He led Indiana to a win in the first game of the series scoring a game-high 21 points.

With the addition of Smeathers, the Mount will have 7 new faces on its roster when the NEC begins play next January. But both Smeathers and Martin are older players having spent two years at other schools before transferring.

The other interesting fact about the roster next year is that it will feature 10 players 6-6 or better. If Kristijan Krajina is granted a sixth year of eligibility for his medical hardship, that number will increase to 11. Certainly far more on the roster than I ever remember.

The Mount is back in action on Sunday at 2pm at the Bryce Jordan Center on the campus of Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions. Several of Penn State's head coach Pat Chambers 11 siblings attended Mt. St. Mary's and his father is a lifelong friend of legendary Mount coach Jim Phelan.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Robinson has huge night; Finishes with 42

Ever since Junior Robinson committed to Mt. St. Mary's early last summer, there has been a buzz around him. Internet recruiting sites lit up about his ability - and how it might translate on the next level. Robinson had some great performances during the AAU summer tour and that carried over to the high school scene last night.

The Mount signee dropped 42 in a 95-84 Eastern Alamance win over Graham. The article below gives us an idea of how Junior can score. From the sound of it, it's just about anyway. Last night he drove to the hoop, knocked down three-pointers and mid range jumpers in an fast tempo attack, that hopefully is getting him ready for Mayhem next season.

Robinson is part of a five-person class that the Mount has signed for the 2014-15 season. Others include Fishburne Academy's Chris Wray and Mo Sallah, Gaston Day (NC)'s Troy Henderson and Randallstown's Chris Manning.

Story from Times News

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Varsity Q & A with Randallstown forward Chris Manning - Baltimore Sun

Mount signee Chris Manning primed for big senior season at Randallstown High School.

Varsity Q & A with Randallstown forward Chris Manning - Baltimore Sun:

'via Blog this'

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ESPN's Reggie Rankin on Mount Signee Mo Sallah

Here are a few players who impressed during the event. 

Mo Sallah (Waynesboro, Va./Fishburne Military School)
2014, Power Forward, 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, Committed to Mount St. Mary’s 

Sallah is a long, athletic and active forward who runs the floor well. He can finish on the break and rebounds on both ends of the floor. He blocks shots and has good touch in the lane out to 15-17 feet. He will need to add strength but has excellent upside and has the motor and tools to be an immediate contributor at Mount St. Mary’s. 

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Professional Mounties

Shawn Atupem is in his third professional season, his second in Finland. After starting the season in Iceland, Atupem has played the last eight games with Salon Vilpas in the Finnish League. He's averaged 13.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for the Vikings. Salon Vilpas currently sits in 8th place.

Atupem had 14 points in a 90-84 loss to Kouvot on Friday.

Raven Barber is having a successful first season in the Canadian NBL with the Halifax Rainmen. Barber is averaging 11.9 points and 6.3 rebounds after being selected third overall.

Halifax has recently named former Chicago Bull sharpshooter Craig Hodges Head Coach.

Kelly Beidler is having a successful debut season in Austria for Wels. The fourth year pro moved from Germany to Austria this season. He has averaged 11 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1 block per game. He ranks 3rd in the Bundesliga in blocked shots and 7th in rebounds.

Meanwhile, Danny Thompson is averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds through a 3-0 start for the Bay Area Shuckers of the APBL. He leads the team with 10 blocks. Bay Area returns to action Saturday versus the NoVA Hawks.

Mychal Kearse continues to play with Al Karkh in the Iraqi Professional League. Al Karkh is 3-1 but more information is unavailable.

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Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Catholic Clash

Let's be honest, the start of the season hasn't been anything like we expected. But a game against Loyola always brings out the best. So let's hope today is the start of something.

The start of something just like it was back in 2007-08 when the Mount looked about as bad as could be in the game before the Loyola showdown. A 66-45 pounding from American was the precursor to the Mount's double-digit win Saturday afternoon win over Loyola. That sparked a 6-game winning streak and gave the team that gave the team momentum headed to the conference season. Eventually it all came together for that squad. The season ended with the last NCAA tournament appearance for the school.

Minus the injury to Kristijan Krajina this is still the team that most of us thought would perform at high levels this season. And there's no doubt that the level has not lived up to those expectations. And for 36 minutes against, the struggles offensively were as bad as they've been.

But I woke up this morning feeling that today is the day. Today's the day, this team starts it's run.

It's that rivalry game that matters each and every year.

This year, like December 2007, it matters a little more.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Wraysing Eyebrows @ National Prep Showcase

Mount signee Chris Wray one of the standouts at the first day of National Prep Showcase. He's part of a great class of five that arrives on campus in July.

2013 National Prep Showcase Day 1 Recap - CityLeagueHoops | CityLeagueHoops:

'via Blog this'

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Head Coach Jamion Christian on the Mount's Recruiting Class

All quotes from the official Mt. St. Mary's release on the incoming class.

"This class of Mount freshmen will continue to help us build our program into an annual top four contender in the Northeast Conference," said Head Coach Jamion Christian.  "Through our recruiting, we always want to increase our size, speed and athleticism and we are thrilled to say that we have been able to do so in the early signing period.  All of this year's recruiting class contains the components that will help to take Mayhem and the Mount to the next level."

On Troy Henderson:

"Troy is a scoring wing who is an excellent shooter from beyond the three point line," said Christian.   "His size and reach with the ability to guard bigger scoring wings on the wing are an asset as is his ability to knock down outside shots from the perimeter.  He comes to us from a great program in Charlotte (Gaston Day School) where he plays for a great head coach in Kenny Burr."

On Chris Manning

"We love keeping local talent close to home and we were able to do so with Chris," said Christian.  "He is comes to us from Randallstown high school where he played for Kevin English.  Chris embodies everything that we are looking for in a Mount student.  One of the top student's in his class at Randallstown, he also partakes in several activities off of the floor.  On the floor, his ability to get off of the floor quickly will help him to block shots and finish above the rim in our ball screen sets."

On Mo Sallah:

"Mo is a big man with a great upside and ability to rebound the ball against anyone.  We love bigs that play above the rim and that protect the rim through shot blocking," said Christian.  "Mo gives us a rim protector with size.  He comes to us after a prep year at Fishburne Military Academy where he starts for one of the nation's best prep schools."

On Junior Robinson

"Junior is an explosive, prolific scoring point guard out of the state of North Carolina who possess 4.3 40-yard dash speed, and a 40-plus inch vertical leap," said Christian.  "Junior will join us from Eastern Alamance High School, where he has been their starting point guard for four years.  Junior's ability to create for others and score from beyond the three point line makes him the perfect fit for the Mount." 

On Chris Wray

"Chris brings to us the ability to guard all five positions and he is a winner at every level that he has played," said Christian. "He comes to the Mount from first Shelby high school where he was a three-year starter and after one prep year at Fishburne Military academy for a great Coach in Ed Huckaby.  He is a  tenacious defender, shot blocker, and on-ball defender that we will use in a multitude of ways to continue to improve our defense."

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Night in Provo

If you're a Mountaineer fan, I know what you're thinking. At least, I think I know what you're thinking.

Because this road trip to BYU is sort of a scary predicament for the Mount. Just two nights after allowing Villanova to score 90 points in a dunkfest, the Mounties take on the Cougars who just rolled up 112 on late Monday evening in Northern California versus Stanford.

So the question that is on everyone's mind, is "How is the Mount going to slow down BYU?". Truth is, I'm not sure. And for that matter not sure they can. BYU is a seriously good team that is going to seriously test the Mountaineer defense.

So which defense will we see, the gambling one that was constantly beaten for layups and dunks in Philadelphia or the one that slowed West Virginia a week ago, by keeping the ball in front of them only to see WVU shoot the lights out over top the defense. BYU has the capabilities to do either, so its not an easy choice for Jamion Christian on how he wants to play it.

My guess is the Mountaineers are going to press. Because that's what they do. However, I do think you'll see a little more conservative pressure, especially to start. The game plan against Villanova, to try to turn the Wildcats over again and again, might not have been a bad idea. Villanova struggled early against the pressure, and came in as a team vulnerable to the pressure. But once Villanova added another guard on the floor, and took away the Mount's offense, the defensive gameplan was undone.

So tonight begins a stretch of what I think are three very important games for the Mount. Following the foray west, the Mount plays at UMBC and UMES, that's Maryland-Baltimore County and Maryland Eastern Shore. Those two games seemed very winnable a week ago. And they remain winnable.

UMBC's lone win is of the overtime variety over Eastern University. A game the Division III school's website refers to as an exhibition. Eastern Shore pounded neighboring Division III Salisbury State for it's only win. rates the Hawks 346 out of 350 Nationally.

So those games are certainly potential road wins for the Mount. However, the Mount can't limp into those games. That is why a strong showing at BYU is so important tonight. The defense was atrocious in Philadelphia, but even more concerning was the lack of offense. The Mount managed just .82 points per possession while shooting just 30% from the field.

That has to change and it has to change in a hurry. Seniors Rashad Whack and Sam Prescott have struggled in the first two games. The two have combined to average just 17 points combined through the first two games and both have shooting percentages that look more like batting averages.

We've seen Whack and Prescott produce in the past. We expect them to produce again. There were some glimpses during the second half the other night. But they need to be consistent, and they need to start soon.

Tonight works just fine for me.

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Mount O'Links - Friday

BYU fans to recite Gettysburg Address at halftime tonight

What you Need to Know: The BYU Perspective

Fishburne signees

Cougars Look to Build on Momentum

Redskins Eagles Preview

Rush The Court - ACC

Traveling Ray

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mount Mayhem Grows by Five

Sometime today, if they aren't there already, National Letters of Intent, will make their way into the Mt. St. Mary's athletic office bringing the Mount four big front line players and a guard, who has many adjectives to describe him, but big is not one of them.

Lamont Robinson Jr, who is listed at 5-7, is the only guard in the class - the other four are big players with long wing spans that should excel in the Mayhem defensive style that Jamion Christian utilizes at the Mount. Chris Manning 6-6 from Randallstown, Mo Sallah 6-9 who played his high school ball in Hagerstown and is now prepping at Fishburne Academy, Sallah's Fishburne teammate Chris Wray 6-7 from Shelby North Carolina, and Troy Henderson 6-9 from Charlotte North Carolina all will be signing letters of intent.

Robinson averaged 22 points and 5 assists a game during his junior season at Eastern Alamance High School. He became the talk of the AAU Circuit this summer, routinely beating bigger players and making his team and teammates better. A North Carolina All-State selection as a junior, Robinson helped his team reach the Class 3-A Eastern Regional Semifinals after winning the Mid-State 3-A Conference. Robinson chose the Mount over offers from Middle Tennessee State & Charleston Southern.

Manning is an athletic and rangy 6-6 forward who should excel at both ends of the floor for the Mount. The local product from Randallstown High School is a good rebounder and shot blocker and finishes with authority in the paint. Manning chose the Mount early in the recruiting game, but also had an offer from Radford.

Chris Wray has been committed to the Mount for what seems like an eternity. Wray committed before his senior year at Shelby (NC) High School. The plan was always for him to attend prep school for a year before coming to Emmitsburg. He averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds a game, and was generally known as the best defensive player on the floor for Shelby, averaging better than 2 blocks and 2 steals per night. He has the ability to play on the wing and this level and should be a great addition to the pressure defense.

Sallah starred at Broadfording Christian Academy in Hagerstown. He averaged 18 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks a night. The defensive ability will be quite handy for the 6-9 Sallah at the back of the Mount pressure.

The 6 foot 9 inch Henderson will come to the Mount with plenty of upside. He is a skilled forward with a lot of bounce to his game and a soft touch. His game still has room for improvement but he became much sought after by mid-majors this summer amassing offers from Mercer, Presbyterian, UNC Asheville, Vermont and Youngstown State, before picking the Mount over Campbell in the end.

The Mount loses four seniors - all starters - off this years team. So they are in need of replenishing with next year's class. This group appears to have done that. Factor into the mix that Marshall transfer guard Chris Martin will become eligible next season and the Mount will have a very strong nucleus to build on.

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Mount O'Links - Wednesday

Top Stories of the Day Surrounding the Mount

Jimmy Oates commits to LAX team

Henderson's 22 Just Not Enough

Villanova's 3 Keys
Let's hope their scouting report is this thin Preview

After Nova, looms BYU

24 Hours of Hoops

Champions Classic Draft

Terps Recruiting Class

Morehead signs with baseball team

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Friday Night: What I saw

Lots of folks have been asking me what I saw when I ventured to Morgantown on Friday Night. I could tell them about the Texas football fans in their burnt orange at the restaurant before the game. But that isn't really what they want to know about. Folks want to know about the Mount, and should we be concerned? Concerned that the Mount didn't shoot well, and confused that the turnovers they got in bunches a year ago were limited to just 8 on Friday night.

Well, I'm not worried about this team offensively. I actually think that despite the fact that Rashad Whack and Sam Prescott combined for only 11 points, the offensive performance was more efficient than it was against BCS schools last year. And in fact, the kenpom offensive efficiency rating for 2013-2014 exceeds what it was for 2012-2013. That is a good sign. Coupled with the fact that it came when Whack and Prescott had rough nights and it really looks better.

Because I'm really not concerned if Whack and Prescott can score. If the open shots that they had on Friday night will go in. Those questions are already answered. Whack and Prescott are going to make their shots and get their points. It just didn't happen Friday.

The positives were this. Julian Norfleet is ready to have his best season as a Mountaineer. He had 19 points and 7 assists. He is in total control and command of the offense. He is going to have a huge year.

Greg Graves got 9 rebounds in his first collegiate start. The added muscle is apparent but it hasn't taken away any of the athleticism. He's going to be a real factor.

Will Miller rotated with Graves and proved that he can flat out shoot the ball. He made 3 trifectas on his debut. He's got a lot to get better at, but he's going to be an important part of this team because of the his shot making ability, and the fact that other teams are going to have to concern themselves with the other other offensive threats. Plus the cheering section from Texas adds something.

Kristijan Krajina also had 9, used his size well inside and again proved that if you get the ball to him on the low block good things are going to happen.

Taylor Danaher had a dunk and a three-pointer and didn't seem to get pushed around as much underneath.
He's put on some weight, and is very nimble at his size.

The fact that the Mount only forced 8 turnovers could be a bit concerning. However, I don't think it had much to do with the new defensive rules or any change. I think there were 2 factors.

1) West Virginia had all preseason to get ready for the traps. And even if they didn't start specifically on handling the pressure until after their last preseason game, they still had extended time.
2) The Mountaineers had multiple ballhandlers. It seems like the presses don't get as many turnovers when teams have a sort of rotation at the lead guard slot. I thought there were times last year, when teams like Wagner, weren't bothered as much. Thought that was the case on Friday.

West Virginia isn't a great team. The Mount will play 2 better teams the next two times out. But it seemed like what needed to go well for WVU on Friday night did. I think they made some shots they might not normally make, and I already mentioned the fact that there were open shots for the Mount that are going to go in more often than not that didn't on Friday.

So it was a little of a disappointment. But upon reflection, I think it bodes well for the season. This team is going to do a lot of real good things.

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Friday, November 08, 2013

And so it Begins

241 days separate the last time the Mount hit the floor for a basketball game - with tonight. In that time since, there have been a lot of happenings around the Mount basketball program. But none of it has taken the glow off the end of last season and what it meant for this program.

The players that remain are more than capable of carrying forth all the momentum that was gained during that month and a half stretch. In fact, they've been chomping at the bit to get back out there and compete.

Julian Norfleet will lead this group into action this season. He took over the point guard slot for Josh Castellanos, when Castellanos was sidelined with an ankle injury mid-January of last season. That move corresponded with the Mount winning 11 of its last 13 contests.

Transfers Sam Prescott and Rashad Whack were also vital in that stretch run. Both saw their playing time increase as the conference season wore on. Prescott scored 44 in a home beatdown of Bryant. Whack led the team in scoring last season, averaging just a tick under 14 per game. He knocked down 83 trifectas on the season to lead a Mount aerial attack.

Of course, there is the defense style as well. The full court pressing style of play that Mount Alum Jamion Christian calls Mayhem and brought with him from VCU when he arrived on campus a year ago April. A defense that forced opponents into turnovers on 24 percent of their possessions last season. Freshman Khalid Nwandu should help that defensive effort and is reportedly set to be a part of the starting lineup from the get go.

The media and the conference coaches have soured on the Mount a little since last season. The league preseason poll has them tabbed sixth. One spot higher than they finished last year.

This program doesn't feel like one in reverse. In fact, one college basketball coach told me recently, "They are going to finish a lot higher than sixth. I guarantee you that."

The non-conference slate starts tonight as it so often does on the road, in a facility of a big-time college athletic program. West Virginia is undoubtedly the favorite tonight. gives West Virginia a 84% chance of winning and says the most likely result is a WVU 9-point win. says West Virginia would win 70% of the time, and says the most likely result is a West Virginia 72.3-66.7 win.

So the odds aren't in the Mount's favor. But does it matter?

This is Mayhem.

Year two begins tonight.

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Thursday, November 07, 2013


I lost a great friend when Jim Dooley passed away late last Thursday night.

Coach, as he was known by many, was my high school basketball coach, starting way back in 1989 when he came to Gettysburg High School to restore a proud program.

In the 24+ years since then he's been so much more.

There isn't just one thing that I can point to and say "Coach did this for me." But during those 24 years there were so many things, that I'm eternally grateful.

He was full of energy, passion, forever optimistic and as loyal as an individual can be. Characteristics that rubbed off on the people around him. I'm hoping they rubbed off of me.

He was always the guy that you could lean on. The guy who knew what to say - when it seemed like there wasn't anything to say that could make it better. But Coach always did.

In High School when we lost (and man did we lose), he found a way to tell us how we were going to get up in the morning, go to class and come to practice and get better. And that it would be better.

But more importantly when things went bad in the time since then, he reached out, made sure I knew that I had him and Mary to rely on if I needed it. Made sure I knew that the bad times would pass and the sun would rise again.

I know he's done the same for many of my teammates, many of the other kids he coached, many of the students he's taught, or anyone he's come in contact with who needed an extra lift. He genuinely cared for every person he came in contact with. He's helped make this great community stronger.

Coach was a great storyteller. He had a story about just about everything. I'll remember some of them forever. And I'm fortunate that I have so many great memories of Coach. Memories from the golf course, where we played and talked about just about everything.

But our matches were competitive. Because anything with Coach was. And the truth be told, I was a better golfer than he was. But he was bound and determined to beat me. And I'll never forget the first time he did.

It was the day after Christmas. My clubs were away for the season. But it was unseasonably warm, you know like up in the forties, and Coach thought it was a good day to play golf. Or maybe he thought it was as good a day as any to finally beat me. So he called and asked if I wanted to go play. I looked out the window and wasn't real sure it was a good idea. But I went. And headed to the 18th tee I clutched, with frozen fingers, to a one-stroke lead. He made par, I made bogey. The perfect way to end. Let's head inside for a drink to warm us up, I thought. He had other ideas. "Can't end tied," he said. "Let's play another hole."

And so we did. He won of course.

I've got lots of memories similar to that. Lots of happy times with Coach through the year. We've laughed and cried together. Argued about presidential elections and BCS bids - all the important things.

Earlier, I said we lost a lot in high school. We only won 12 games in the two years I played on his team at Gettysburg. Only three in that first season at Gettysburg. A season where he promised us we were building the foundation for a program that would have success in the future. And it did. League championships were in the program's future. But I never realized how important those three wins were. Jim Dooley's career, unbeknownst to everyone, came to a close last March in the PIAA Tournament. The final tally: 702 wins in that great coaching career.

However, that number should never define who he was or what he accomplished.

There are no numbers for that.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Colonials top NEC team in Pomeroy ratings

Here's a little summary on the NEC in the KenPom ratings that were released this weekend. Pomeroy had four teams tied at the top of the NEC standings at the end of the year, including the Mount. Robert Morris, Wagner and Central Connecticut joined them.

LIU, the three time defending champ, was picked seventh. That may signify that we are giving the champ much too much credit in the preseason. It also may signify that if Julian Boyd doesn't return it could be a long season for the Blackbirds. Boyd is supposed to be back by midseason.

Colonials top NEC team in Pomeroy ratings:

'via Blog this'

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sixth. Really? Sixth?

Ok, we've had a day to digest the NEC Preseason Coaches Poll and it really still doesn't seem to be sitting very well with Mount fans.

The general consensus that I'm hearing from Mount fans is that the Mount was picked way too high. And the second thing I'm hearing is that the slight from the league's coaches will give Jamion Christian another reason to fire up his troops.

The Mount returns four starters from last year's tournament runner-up. Among those four are the three who made it go the most and the fourth is senior Kristijan Krajina who started his first game five years ago in Norman Oklahoma and has seen all the changes the program has gone through since then.

Normally, I don't get too worked up over polls and preseason picks. After all, they mean absolutely nothing. But in this case it does mean that the Mount's 41-day run, that saw them win 11 times in 13 games at the end of last year did very little to earn respect around the league.,

Some of it makes sense, the Mount did lose several players, Shivaughn Wiggins and Kelvin Parker are both gone from the program and Raven Barber was the third pick in the Canadian Draft last spring. But all of the other teams lost players as well.

And among those teams ranked ahead of the Mount, there's Central Connecticut State. The Blue Devils were 0-2 versus the Mount last year and lost four more games than they won, and bowed out in the first round of the NEC Tournament by 22. No wonder folks are confused.

Or what about the Bulldogs of Bryant. After starting the season with 13 wins in 17 games, Bryant lost 8 of its last 14, including a pair of losses to the Mount. A 14-point beatdown at Knott Arena, and the Mount's 1st round win at Bryant in the NEC Tournament.

LIU deserves the respect that a 3-time defending champion should get. But if we're talking about teams losing players, it's hard to say that anybody wasn't harder hit than LIU. The Blackbirds lost Jamal Olasawere and CJ Garner - and Julian Boyd's health is once again in question as he tries to return from another knee injury.

Robert Morris and Wagner are also ahead of the Mount and arguments can be made either way.

Championships aren't won because of the picks of coaches in October. So it really doesn't mean very much in the long run. But it does prove that the Mount still hasn't won the respect of the other coaches in the league. And you can guarantee that they're working hard this October to change that.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NEC Media Day today

Here's a link to NEC Front Row for live coverage of the Northeast Conference Media Day from Brooklyn.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Conference champion predictions -

Jerry Palm gets new respect for his pick here. All the conference selections from CBS Sports top analysts are here. 4 different champs projected for the NEC. And LIU isn't one of them.

Conference champion predictions -

'via Blog this'

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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Recruit Recon Preseason Prognostications

Always a fan of the work that Recruit Recon does on covering mid-major recruiting scene.

Joe Click has greatly added to their coverage - and he has this NEC preview.

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mayhem is a Good Thing

Watch this video from Mount Athletics and tell me you're not ready for November 8.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Daly Dose Of Hoops: 32 In 32: Northeast Conference

No respect for the Mounties here. After winning 9 of last 10, and 11 of last 13 Daily Dose of Hoops picked the Mount 6th. Obviously, they weren't paying attention. Obvious, by the fact they listed Shivaughn as a point guard.

NEC will be deep again. But sixth would be severe disappointment.

A Daly Dose Of Hoops: 32 In 32: Northeast Conference:

'via Blog this'

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sallah commits to Mount

Mo Sallah, a 6-8 forward from Broadfording Christian Academy in Hagerstown, has pledged his future to Mt. St. Mary's. Sallah led BCA in scoring a season ago averaging 18.4 per night. In addition, he grabbed 14 rebounds per night, and blocked better than 3 shots per contest.

The Lions lost in the championship game of the Mason Dixon Christian Conference. Sallah had 20 points in the championship game. He was named to the MDCC All-Star team, and the WHAG-TV 25 Fab Five team.

Sallah is spending a post-graduate year at Fishburne Military Academy in Waynesboro Virginia and will join the Mount in 2014-15.

Sallah will spend most of his time in the low block for the Mount. At 6-8 and athletic he should fit in well with the other 4 who already committed as part of next year's class. The Mount has landed point guard Junior Robinson, and front line players Chris Manning, Chuck Wray, Troy Henderson and now Sallah. The Mount still has one scholarship left, should it choose to use it.

Sallah and Wray will be teammates at Fishburne this season.

Some videos of Sallah from his career at BCA.

Sallah vs New Life

Sallah vs Musselman

Mo Dunk

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

South Hagerstown's Katrice Dickson to join Mount Women next season

Head Women's Basketball Coach Bryan Whitten has picked up a verbal commitment from South Hagerstown's Katrice Dickson. Dickson helped lead her team to a school record 21-3 season last year, while scoring 12.8 points and grabbing 6 rebounds a game. She also averaged 2.8 steals, 2.3 assists and 1.6 blocks in her junior season.

She was named the Herald Mail's Player of the Year and they have the story on her commitment.

Dickson to Mount

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

North Carolina forward Henderson to join Mountaineers

Troy Henderson a 6-foot 8-inch forward out of Charlotte, North Carolina pledged his commitment to Mt. St. Mary's this morning. The 2014 product from Gaston Day becomes the fourth member of that 2014 class. He joins point guard Junior Robinson, and forwards Chuck Wray and Chris Manning. All are expected to sign a letter of intent during the November signing period.

Henderson narrowed his final choice to the Mount and Campbell, after previously considering North Carolina-Asheville. He also previously had offers from Presbyterian and Youngstown State.

Henderson averaged 6 points a game during his junior year. He length and athletic ability will provide defensive cover at the back of the Mount defense. He's an athletic player whose best play is in front of him.

This is a great pickup for the Mount as Jamion Christian and his staff continue to accumulate talent to compete in the Northeast Conference for years to come.

Here is a story on Henderson from Phenom Hoop Report

Friday, August 30, 2013

Why it Matters

22 years ago - or somewhere thereabouts - I walked into the Carrier Dome as a very green college football fan.

I had grown up in South Central Pennsylvania and really didn't know there was much to College Football other than Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions. Like most Pennsylvania youngsters, I grew up rooting for the Lions. I remember Craig Fayak beating #1 Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium, I remember Kevin Baugh running punts back in the Sugar Bowl, I remember Pete Giftopolous intercepting Vinny Testaverde one last time to give the Nits a National Championship in the Fiesta Bowl.

In reality, I was probably ticketed for Penn State. And I was fine with that. Perhaps even happy about it. But I took a chance with an application to the best journalism school in the country. Something separated my application from the others. Perhaps it was that letter of recommendation from none other than a Penn State grad. So when so many of my high school friends went to State College, I went further north.

Either way, I went to Syracuse as a Penn State fan. I didn't tell many people that. After all, that was blasphemy on the Hill. But I did win a friendly wager with another freshman when Penn State shellacked Georgia Tech in the Kickoff Classic before I ever saw the Orange play. Tony Sacca threw a bunch of touchdowns if I recall.

So when I went into the Dome, I wasn't quite sure to expect. I had great seats, I remember that. 2nd row on about the 25-yard. I'm guessing sending that ticket application back fast and holding the class registration papers had something to do with it. Priorities.

Vanderbilt was the opponent that afternoon. Gerry DiNardo brought success with him from Colorado, and some new Vandy helmets designed to make them look more Coloradish. The Orange was clearly the better team that day. Guys like Tony Montemorra, Tim Sandqvist, Marvin Graves, David Walker, Qadry Ismail, and the late great Kevin Mitchell made an impact on me that day.

I was hooked.

Raised to be a Penn State fan.

Now, Orange for Life.

So as I walked out of the Dome that afternoon, I wanted only one thing.

A chance.

A chance to play Penn State.

Finally, some 22 years later we're getting that chance. I know we played them, twice in fact, several seasons ago. But that wasn't real. Greg Robinson had hijacked our football program and that wasn't really who we were. I didn't wake up on either of those Saturday mornings expecting anything out of the football game.

So now, I'm back in South Central PA. I've got all these Penn State fans around. And I'm the guy wearing the Syracuse colors to work the day before the game. I'm the guy driving the car with the PA license plate that reads - "GO CUSE".

I couldn't be happier.

We've got our chance.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mount St. Mary's Has Chance To Get Big Victory For NEC | Big Apple Buckets

Mount St. Mary's Has Chance To Get Big Victory For NEC | Big Apple Buckets:

Here's John Templon from NYC Buckets appraisal of the Mount's schedule. I'll try to get mine up within the next 24 hours. Templon, per usual, makes some very good analytical points about the possibilities. Enjoy!

'via Blog this'

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Class of 2014 North Carolina Top 50 Rankings - Phenom Hoop Report

Class of 2014 North Carolina Top 50 Rankings - Phenom Hoop Report:

Mount Commit Junior Robinson ranked 15th in North Carolina by Phenom Hoop Report

Plus 2 new videos of Robinson Vs Westover vs Oxford Webb

Can't wait to see this guy in the Blue and White

'via Blog this'

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Friday, August 23, 2013

The High Road

The elimination of the men's and women's golf teams and the men's soccer team at the Mount last year wasn't something anyone wanted. Unfortunately, in today's world those decisions become reality. Richmond dropped it's men's soccer program as well recently.

So when I clicked on this story by Mount golfer Eric Flockhart, I expected to read one story, instead I got another. Lots of class shown by Flockhart in his recount of his one season of Division I golf.

Best of luck to him in the future.

Feeling Shortchanged

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Sky is Not Falling

Shivaughn Wiggins and Melvin Gregory have both left the Mount St. Mary's basketball and will not return to the school.

Yesterday's news of Wiggins' departure has sent some shockwaves through the Mount basketball fanbase. If you don't believe me, your inbox wasn't as full as mine this morning.

No doubt losing Wiggins is a blow to the Mount's chances to win the NEC Title that many fans are predicting and hoping for this year. But it by no means eliminates those chances. How big a blow? That remains to be seen. The Mount returns three All-NEC capable guards and brings in three freshman who the coaching staff has praised.

Head Coach Jamion Christian has talked about building a culture among his team and his program. This is just another step in realizing what that culture is and allowing that culture to take shape. The program has made it known that they want not only to win games, but have class individuals representing the University while doing so. Therefore, as we've seen in the past, Christian will choose to handle situations as he sees fit for the betterment of the program and the University.

Examples: Kelvin Parker didn't make the trip to DC for the Mount's win over George Washington and contest with Georgetown. Wiggins wasn't in Bloomington Indiana or Kalamazoo Michigan for the Mount's Midwest trip right before Christmas last year, and Xavier Owens didn't accompany the team on its NEC Postseason run.

Here is a quote from the Mount's release from Christian about Wiggins' departure.

"We are working tirelessly to establish a strong and consistent culture on an off of the floor," said Christian.  "In our first season we were able to make tremendous strides in these areas and we are committed to doing so on a daily basis.  Shivaughn had an unbelievable freshman year for us here at the Mount and was a big contributor to this past season's success.  We will continue to wish him the best in any of his future endeavors."

A lot has been made of the six departures since the end of the season and what is the cause of that. Some have even questioned whether it might be a long-term problem. My opinion is that each situation was a little different than the other and there is not cause for long-term concern. Statistics show that over 40% of college basketball players transfer before the end of their playing careers. When coaching changes occur, those numbers always seem to escalate.

And when someone steps in, as Christian and his staff have, changes the way things have operated in the past additional change is needed and necessary.

Let's be honest, there really is only one reason anyone is concerned about the six departures.

Last year's success.

If the Mount had gone 10-18 as many suggested they would, nobody would care if folks were leaving campus. Some would even help them pack their bags.

But the expectation of what's to come, an expectation that wouldn't be there if it weren't for the steps that the coaching staff has taken, has made fans worry about what these departures mean. And question whether it is rocking the foundation and core of the program.

The answer is absolutely not. The foundation and core of the program is that these student-athletes are going to be held responsible for their actions both on and off the court.

It was that foundation and core that allowed for the success that was achieved last year.

It is that foundation and core that is going to allow you and I to be proud of a basketball team that is going to provide us with great entertainment and many many wins in the years to come.

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Q&A with Mount St. Mary's coach Jamion Christian -

Q&A with Mount St. Mary's coach Jamion Christian -

Some good stuff from the Mount head coach in this Baltimore piece.

For what it's worth, the injuries to Whack and Prescott are not deemed serious and both are expected at full throttle come October. But missing time in the summer never helps. So it's never a good thing. Still better July than January.

'via Blog this'

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Junior Robinson - latest to pledge to the Mount

The recruits keep coming for Mt. St. Mary's. Junior Robinson became the fourth member of the recruiting class of 2014 to commit to Mt. St. Mary's and Head Coach Jamion Christian and staff.

Robinson's a 5-8 point guard from North Carolina, who can really score the ball. Heading into his senior senior, Lamont 'Junior' Robinson has already tallied 1700 points at the high school level. Robinson was an AP all-state selection as a junior and he's joining three previous commits Cameron Jackson, Chris Manning, Chris Wray at the Mount in the fall of 2014.

Jackson, Manning and Wray all play on the front line and Robinson is the first guard to commit to the 2014 class. The Mount will lose guards Sam Prescott, Julian Norfleet and Rashad Whack to graduation after the 2013-14 season. Marshall transfer Chris Martin is waiting in the wings. The incoming freshman class also has  3 guards among it.

If Robinson's credentials sound a little familiar to Mount fans, it makes sense. The small guard from North Carolina market has been one the Mount has tapped into with great success recently. Jeremy Goode led the Mount to its last NCAA Tournament and Shivaughn Wiggins, Christian's first recruit at the Mount, won the NEC newcomer of the year last season.

Word of Robinson's commitment spread quickly on the TwitterSphere. East Tennessee State assistant coach  Thomas Carr called it a "steal". Justin Young of tweeted "That's a big time commit in a small package. Loved him in the spring."

Can't wait to see Robinson in the blue and white.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another Local Talent Chooses Mount

DC Guard Byron Ashe chose Mount St. Mary's on Sunday night, becoming the fourth area product to do so recently. The Mount has grabbed three players from the DC Area in recent weeks, while Khalid Nwandu from Northeastern York PA, signed in the fall.

Ashe is a 6-1 guard who really scores the basketball. He played for Friendship Collegiate Academy the last three years and should fit very nicely into a Mount program that puts a pretty big emphasis on perimeter play. The Mount went to a four guard offense late this season, that move propelled them to an exciting finish. The Mount finished the season with nine straight wins before falling to LIU in the NEC Championship Game.

But since the season has ended the Mount has seen several players ask for and be granted their release and scholarships became available. It was reported last week that Kelvin Parker and Josh Castellanos have left the program. Gonzaga's Charles Glover and Marshall transfer guard Chris Martin quickly filled those scholarships. With the addition of Ashe it appears that the Mount has at least one more player departing, and likely two as they continue to bring talent into the program.

Ashe has great acceleration and can score in a variety of fashions. The guard is crafty and creates shots for himself and others. Ashe scored a season-high 33 versus National Christian getting to the foul line 20 times that night, converting on 90% of the attempts. Per the All-Capital Beltway first teamer averaged 19.1 points per game during his senior season.

With the addition of the 4 newcomers next fall (Martin will need to sit out one season due to NCAA transfer rules), the Mount's roster will likely be made up of players from DC, Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The lone exception will be NEC Newcomer of the Year Shivaughn Wiggins. So it has become obvious from Jamion Christian and his staff's first year and a half recruiting that they want the recruiting base to be from the local areas.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

DC Guard transferring to Mount

Chris Martin from Upper Marlboro Maryland, who spent the last two seasons at Marshall is transferring to the Mount according to sources familiar with the situation.

Martin, a 6-0 guard, played at famed St. Patrick (NJ) Prep before going to Marshall. He is a great shooter who loves to score the ball. Due to NCAA transfer rules he will be required to sit out one season but will be eligible starting in the 2014 season.

Averaged 13.5 points for the St. Patrick team that was ranked No.1 in the country for much of the season, before finishing at #3.

He just completed his sophomore season at Marshall where he averaged just over 3 points a game, while making 15 three-pointers. He looks to be the type of guard who will thrive in Jamion Christian's offense.

His father Bill Martin played on Georgetown teams that made three NCAA title game appearances in the early 80's. The Hoyas won the 1984 crown.

Welcome aboard Chris.We're excited to get to know you.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sports Can Be Cruel

Long Island won its third straight NEC title with a 91-70 win over the Mount in Brooklyn. The Mount built an early 8-point lead but struggled mightily against the Blackbird zone defense.

CJ Garner continued his masterful play for LIU with a 31-point effort.

The loss snapped a nine game Mount winning streak as the Mounties attempted to be the first NEC team to win an NEC tournament playing all three games on the road.

Unfortunately, the run was stopped one win short of an NCAA tournament berth.

I'm a mix of emotions right now, extremely proud of the season that this group gave us, disappointed that the performance wasn't better tonight, to just flat out sad that there is no game to be thinking about tomorrow.

This Mount team is going to be remembered for awhile. Unfortunately endings don't write themselves.

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It was LIU's Night

Thanks for the run. You made March matter again.

Brightness on the horizon.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Who is the Hero?

If there's been one constant in the Mount's three NCAA berth sealing wins, it has been the hero factor from the unlikely source.

Silas Cheung went off when the Mount prevented Rider from earning its third straight NEC title and sent Jim Phelan to the Big Dance for the first time.

And then Eric Bethel rained threes on Central Connecticut on Staten Island giving Phelan his 800th win and another tourney berth. Yes that Bethel, his brother Tony is now an assistant at the Mount.

Finally, Freshman Jean Cajou, who really was special the whole NEC Tournament led the Mount to victory in Connecticut over Sacred Heart.

So if the form holds, who becomes the hero?

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Back to the Championship Game

Ok, I've calmed down enough where I think I can bang out a little bit about the Mount's 69-60 win over Robert Morris in the NEC Semifinal today at a place they call The Chuck, like Ground Chuck I suppose. See I was afraid if I wrote this three hours ago, I'd say nasty things like (Did you hear the Mount fans chanting NIT as the game wore down) or remind folks had bad All-NEC Velton Jones (2-for-17 and four turnovers) was today. And that I'd be too much the fan - and not enough the clear headed enthusiast.

Okay, I got my jabs in. Robert Morris will always be Enemy #1. That was cemented with the great tourney games the teams played last decade. But the thing is, Bobby Mo forgot about it. While the Mount was busy wallowing through the Robert Burke years, RMU was playing its new biggest rival, Long Island and losing in two straight NEC championship games.

Still Robert Morris deserved all the pregame accolades. This was a team that had won 20+ games against a tough non-conference schedule and been the class (most consistent) of the NEC regular season for the duration. No longer were the Colonials this grind it out defensive team that just tried to frustrate you to death to beat you. That left with Mike Rice and when Andrew Toole was able to bring in some better talent. Now Robert Morris spread the floor, launched threes and went hard to the glass with a combination of slashers, shooters and rotating big men that added up to a deserved conference champion.

Robert Morris - as they were from that perspective - deserved to be a favorite - and 8.5 was probably a fair number.

But even so, going in from my perspective it was hard to see the Mount as an underdog. Hard to see them as a team that couldn't beat anyone put before them now. Because it wasn't like the most recent 8 games, all wins, that preceded the Mount entering the Chuck for an afternoon semifinal, were against the Sisters of the Poor. In fact, Robert Morris probably should have handed the Mount thank you cards as they entered. Because it was this Mount team that on two straight Thursday nights knocked off the league leaders. Bryant first, then Long Island next, essentially allowing Robert Morris to win the conference and ironically wrap up the guaranteed NIT bid that they sent them to this afternoon.

No the Mount didn't really deserve that. They deserved a lot more. And on Saturday they showed why they deserved it.

In the postseason, it is so often that the best TEAMS win. And that's no knock on the Colonials. It's just what we've known in or around the Mount for the last several months is that this team is truly a team.

That even though Rashad Whack is the leading scorer he might not be that on every night. And on night's when he isn't the Mount still has a fighting chance.

And Raven Barber has been so key down the stretch. Of course, he's done it while sharing time inside with three others who all bring something different and needed to the package.

And Sam Prescott scored 44 one night. And hasn't taken a forced selfish shot in the games that have followed.

Shivaughn Wiggins has added so much to the team with his on the ball defense. And then at the other end he turned into the NEC Rookie of the Year after winning the weekly award 5 times. Some nights he scores, some nights he passes, and at 5 foot 10 inches he rebounds. And his coach will tell you, and it's hard to disagree, that his defense means the most.

And then there was last year's leading scorer, Julian Norfleet. The lefty from the Tidewater Area has yielded all season to others. Made concessions within his statline for the better of the team. So when starting point guard Josh Castellanos went down with an ankle injury, who was better to step in than Norfleet. He had made all sorts of sacrifices all season - and going to the head of the offense would be another. As this string started, it became apparent that Norfleet could handle the role and more so. He stuffed the stat sheets, found open teammates and all of a sudden that lefty stroke came back.

Castellanos came back from the ankle injury after missing several games and never regained the starting job he had held for the past two and a half years. And as the season went on, his minutes became less and less. But the junior from the Orlando never sulked, never became the problem that lesser people would have. Instead, he cheered, pushed and encouraged his teammates and when Norfleet went down with of all things an ankle injury on Saturday afternoon, Castellanos came off the bench to solidify the offense and help preserve the win.

There didn't seem to be a Mountaineer among them who noticed the difference. Because it became apparent to them a long time ago, back in the preseason workouts, back on the fall camping trip, back on the Frederick House Build project that if these guys wanted to accomplish something, they had to accomplish it together. And when the bad things happen as they always do, you find a way to adjust and make the situation good. And there's nobody out there to help you but your teammates.

That's the Mountaineer team we've been watching this whole year.

It's that team that couldn't be considered an underdog on Saturday. It's that team that played like a favorite.

And it's that team we'll be watching on Tuesday night in the NEC Championship Game.

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Thanks @FlavaFlem09.  Absolute great great win by the Mount this afternoon. I'll have some real thoughts when my heart resumes a normal rhythm.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

So Much to be said

Several observations in the aftermath of the big victory over Bryant in the NEC Tournament on Wednesday night.

  • The season has truly been fun. It's been a joy to watch this team fight through adversity, grow and keep getting better. But it's just great to actually play games that matter. Games that make you get that knot in your stomach when the clock hits 10 minutes tonight.
  • The five points at the end of the first half for Bryant were the only time I was really worried all night. I don't think the Mount played its best, but even while trailing most of the first half, I thought the win would come. But those last five points are the first half were a bit troubling.
  • Shivaughn Wiggins continues to play within himself and find ways to score. His insertion into the lineup and him driving to the basket has made others play that way as well.
  • Big Kudos to Raven Barber tonight. Haven't been many games this year where he's had as big of night as he had tonight. 14 points on 8-of-8 free throw shooting. Just a fabulous night.
  • The Mount made 26-of-27 free throws tonight. All of a sudden this team, which is not a good foul shooting team has 2 of the best free throw nights in Mount history.
  • Rashad Whack's shot selection can be questioned now and again. But get his shoulders square and he knocks down some big shots. A couple huge ones tonight.
  • Sam Prescott is averaging 25 per game in his last two versus Bryant.
  • It's hard watching games where the announcers are employed by the opposition. However, in the end I thought the Bryant duo gave the Mount credit for the win.
  • Survive and advance in March is all you can ask for. It wasn't pretty tonight. But this team showed it believes in itself and won a tough game in a hostile environment. 
  • Saturday will be fun. Enjoy it Mount fans.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Gonzaga Guard Glover a Good Get

Gonzaga guard Charles Glover committed to the Mount earlier today. A 6-1 guard, Glover plays for the best team in the WCAC and has enjoyed a fine senior season and is a first team All-WCAC selection.

Glover averaged better than 11 points a game and had a season high 23 versus St. John last week. He has also often had the task of guarding the opponent's best offensive player, so he should fit right in with the Mayhem in Emmitsburg.

Glover had an offer from Howard and was receiving interest from Marist, Siena, St Francis and New Hampshire but he will sign with the Mount during the next signing period.

He's another talented player in the stable that Jamion Christian and his staff continue to assemble.

Here's a story from DMVElite

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Prescott's Night

24 hours ago I was leaving Knott Arena. Had just witnessed Sam Prescott put on the greatest performance of any Mountaineer in the Arena's history. He had knocked down 10 three pointers matching a record set by Scott Murphy twice during his days as a Mountaineer, on his way to a 44-point performance that set a Division I Mountaineer scoring record passing All-Century team member Chris McGuthrie for that record and leading the Mount to a team record 18 3's in a game. All of this coming in an 84-70 beatdown of the current NEC pacemaker Bryant. If it wasn't a Woodshed beatdown, it was as close as you could get.

And as I left the building I started thinking of how far we'd come in a year. Because you may remember a year ago around this time was when Robert Burke coached his final game at the Mount. Back then there really was nothing to be excited about. However, this team that won our hearts with its all-out all-the-time effort in November has blossomed into a very good offensive team in February, that seems to be playing its best hoops at exactly the right time.

The Mount has won four of its last five games, knocking off teams in front of them in the NEC standings in three of those games. Oh how times have changed in Emmitsburg. That's right there is also that Emmit fellow running around. The Mount is now 2-0 in front of the mascot.

Jamion Christian has been pushing all the right buttons. He and his staff are always searching for and finding the right matchup offensively.

Defensively, they keep throwing different looks at teams that even though they continue to rank near the bottom of the NCAA charts in Field Goal Percentage Against they are winning ballgames by keeping offenses off balance.

Because how this team was going to play in February (and maybe March) wasn't even about what was happening back in November. Instead, this all started back on March 27th when Christian was hired. He's been building the blocks since then. Putting the pieces in place by preaching team first.

So even on a night when it was an individual effort that blazed, the core was still the team. Julian Norfleet, the leading scorer from a season ago, adapting to an on the ball point guard role, handing out 11 assists, the most since Jeremy Goode had that many.

Prescott's night was one those of us who braved the backlash that going to a Valentine's Night game might bring , will never forget.

But it's just one night, one moment in a season that is becoming full of them and seems to be only just beginning once again.

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Sunday, February 03, 2013

A Sacred Heart Perspective of Yesterday's win

Pioneer Pride: Sacred Heart Drops Second Straight to Mount St. Mary's, Now 6-4 in NEC:

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Division I lacrosse preview: Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers -

Division I lacrosse preview: Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers -

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Another Win

If there was one game this season you wouldn't want to miss it was yesterday's homecoming thrashing of Sacred Heart.

Naturally, I missed it.

Missed Rashad Whack's career high 35-point performance. The George Mason transfer had 19 of the Mount's first 23 points, making his first five three pointers. Rumor has it he had 2 trifectas during the national anthem.

The win was the Mount's eighth straight over the Pioneers and keeps them one game out of the final playoff spot in the Northeast Conference. Quinnipiac, a winner at Wagner, and St Francis NY, a loser to St Francis PA, are currently tied for the seventh and eighth slot.

Shivaughn Wiggins also had a nice night for the Mounties. He dropped in 13 points and handed out six assists. A third NEC newcomer of the week award could be on the horizon.

The Mount has road games at Wagner and St Francis PA on the horizon this week. The Mount fell to the Seahawks by two last week at Knott Arena. The trip to Loretto will be the Mount's only battle with the Red Flash this season.

The improvement in the efficiency of the Mount offense seems to be the biggest reason for the recent upswing. We knew that this team with so many new faces and a new system with Coach Jamion Christian was going to take time to mesh completely. I think we've started to see that recently as the Mount is now averaging better than a point a possession in conference games. The Mount is 7-3 when scoring better than a point per possession this season.

The defense continues to be a work in process, but as long as it forces turnovers, it forced another 19 yesterday, it is going to be effective even with the high FG% against it.

The coaching staff continues to find matchups that work for the team, shuffling players in and out of the lineup with effectiveness. A big credit to them on reaching 9 wins, one more than last year, by Groundhog's Day.

February promises to be an exciting month for the Mount. If you believe in the mathematics of Ken Pomeroy, seven of the eight Mount games has a favorite of five points or less. The only exception, Wednesday's travel to Staten Island where the Mount is a seven point underdog. The Mount is favored in six of those eight games.

So get ready for some incredibly close, exciting basketball games. Sounds like Mayhem. Just the way we like it.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mount holds on at Home

The Mount nearly let a lead slip away late for the second straight Thursday at home but this time made some plays down the stretch to knock off Quinnipiac 78-74.

There was no bigger play late, than Julian Norfleet's bomb from the right wing (the guy leads the NCAA in 28-footers doesn't he?) that gave the Mount some breathing room with just over a minute to play and stretched the lead to five. The Mount made just enough free throws late and survived an inbounds play which nearly turned into an Ike Azotam hoop and harm bucket that could have given the Bobcats the lead with just 12 seconds to play.

Shivaughn Wiggins stayed hot leading the Mount with 17 points. Rashad Whack and Norfleet had 13 while Sam Prescott was also in double digits with 11.

The game was full of all sorts of statistical wackiness. Quinnipiac outrebounded the Mount 50-26. Ousmane Drame had 19 points and 20 rebounds including 11 on the offensive end. The game featured 53 fouls but the Bobcats scored only 16 points from the line making only 50 percent including 5-of-14 in the first half. The Mount was 25-of-36 from the line.

The Mount moves to 3-6 in the NEC and hosts Sacred Heart in a 4 o'clock game on Saturday.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Back to the Knott

You can bet that the ride home from New Britain Connecticut was a fun one for the Mt. St. Mary's Mountaineers yesterday evening. And with good reason. The Mount had just completed its first non-conference road win against a +.500 conference mate in over two years. The last one came in on January 15th 2011, when the Mounties won at St. Francis NY.

The Mount win avoided a four-game losing streak, the second such time the Mount has ended a streak in such fashion this year.

But it wasn't so much the win as the way the Mount got the win that impressed me.

We can poke our finger at the Mount defense as much as we want, were not likely to create many holes. But it was that defense that really slowed down the Central Connecticut offense. If you stuck around long enough on the post-game show you heard CCSU assistant coach Sean Ryan say that the 1-3-1 defense is something that can make an immediate impact on a basketball game. But most of the time the offense becomes comfortable against it and it is ineffective.

However, the Mount coaching staff never let that happen. Primarily because they kept rotating guys at the top of the zone. At times 7-foot Taylor Danaher manned the top of the zone. At others, 5-10 Shivaughn Wiggins was the guy up top. And there were others there as well. Couple that with the fact that anytime the Devils did seem to get going offensively
the Mount gave them a different look and went back to the zone later on.

Howie Dickenman has made a career out of outcoaching people in the NEC. The Mount coaching staff had his number on Saturday afternoon.

Not only was the defense working but the Mount offense was executing at a high level. The offense has now scored better than a point a possession in four of its last five games after reaching that mark only three times in its first eleven games. And there was quite a balance to it as well.

Five players scored in double figures. Julian Norfleet and Xavier Owens led the way with 18. Owens had a monster game with 9 rebounds. The sophomore from Tampa has seen his minutes decrease in recent weeks, but he was more than ready to take advantage of positive matchups when his number was called.

Norfleet provided the dagger three to cap the performance. He knocked down 4-of-6 threes on the afternoon breaking out of the season-long shooting slump. Expect a big conclusion to the season from the junior.

So the Mount heads back to the friendly confines of Knott Arena for three home games in its next four. currently lists the Mount as favorites in all three of those games. But none will be easy.

Still its nice to be home and with a good road win to boot.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Effort Rewarded

The Mount had 5 guys in double figures and capped off a four-game road trip with a well earned 80-75 victory at Central Connecticut State Saturday afternoon.

Julian Norfleet and Xavier Owens led the offensive attack for the Mounties with 18 each.

A 16-0 run midway through the second half turned an eight point deficit into an eight point lead and gave the Mount control of the game down the stretch.

Rashad Whack had 13, Shivaughn Wiggins 12 and Kristijan Krajina had 10 for the balanced attack.

The Mount survived an unexpected career high 26 from Baltimore native Malcolm McMillian who knocked down 6 of 7 three-pointers.

Lots of credit to the Mount coaching staff for mixing the defenses up and slowing down and at times thoroughly confusing the high flying Blue Devil attack.

Still no respect for the Mount from the other teams in the NEC. A few more performances like this and that will have to change.

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Keeping the Faith

The Mount will tip off in Connecticut with Central Connecticut State in about an hour and a half and when they do, they will be trying to avoid their first 4 game losing streak of the season.

A season that started with so much promise, because the Mount won 5 of 11 non-conference games, has all of a sudden started to look a little differently. Because many assumed that since the Mount had played near 500 ball against non-conference opponents, it would have no difficulty doing that well or better in conference play.

But at least to start the conference season it hasn't gone that way. And you sort of sense that folks are starting to get a bit restless.

But let's all take a step back, a deep breath and realize where we are right now.

Just past the midway part of the season, the Mount has proven it can play with anyone the NEC has to offer. Thursday's heartbreaking overtime loss at Bryant further proved that point.

But the other factor that has been proven is that if the Mount doesn't play well for all 40 minutes of games opponents in the NEC are going to take advantage. Falling in early deficits in losses to Long Island, Fairleigh Dickinson, St Francis NY and having to rally to force overtime against Bryant has proven to be too large a hole to rally from.

But let's look positively, at where this team is different, than the team that won just 8 games last year.

  • Transfers Rashad Whack and Sam Prescott have both averaged in double figures in 5 NEC games. The duo had a combined 33 on Thursday at Bryant.
  • Kristijan Krajina has proven that if he is on the floor and not on the bench in foul trouble he can have a huge impact on the game inside. Not only does his post play bring points for the Mount, but it makes the defense defend inside which means the Mount perimeter players have a little more space outside.
  • The Mayhem style of defense is going to force turnovers against NEC opponents. League leading Bryant had 20 on Thursday night.
  • There are plenty of players who are going to contribute. With starting point guard Josh Castellanos ailing on Thursday night, Shivaughn Wiggins led the attack with 20 points. The freshman guard from Charlotte made 8-of-10 shots, including all 3 of his three-point attempts.
  • The field goal percentage keeps getting better. The Mount has made 46% of its shot in January, the best of any month this season. In the long run, that is going to pay dividends.
There is no doubt that the early part of the season was bringing better results. But it is impossible to ignore the fact that some areas of the Mount's play are improving over the last few weeks. However, the schedule has been murderous and isn't likely to get much better any time soon. After today, the Mount has played 4 straight games on the road, and plays one of two on the road next week. 

As the season wears on the schedule looks a bit friendlier with numerous home games at Knott Arena forthcoming. That could be setting the Mount up to play its best basketball in February and March as would be expected from a team under a new head coach with a lot of new faces.

The majority of the league schedule lies ahead of us. Today would be a good time to get a jump start on it.

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RIP The Earl of Baltimore

Sad sad news this morning to hear of the passing of Earl Weaver. The guy made me love the game of baseball - and he made me love his Orioles.

Also sad that the lasting image will have of Earl is for moments like the above (and don't hit the play button with kids in the room) when in fact he was a great manager. Weaver won nearly 60% of the games he managed over his 18 years with the Birds. He took the Orioles to 4 World Series.

He's gone but he'll never be forgotten.

The Hall of Famer once said, "when I die just put 'the sorest loser that ever lived' on the tombstone."

Unfortunately that time has come. But everytime there's a three-run homer hit by the black and orange we'll remember the Earl of Baltimore.

Rest In Peace

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Nwandu Scores 27 of Team's 49 in Win

Here is the full game video of Mount signee Khalid Nwandu's 27 point performance versus Red Lion last night.

The game story from The York Daily Record

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mount loses in Rhode Island

Shane McLaughlin took one shot all night. It came with 6.6 seconds left  in overtime - a driving layup that kept Bryant unbeaten in the NEC finally putting an end to the Mount's upset bid 79-78.

Julian Norfleet's elbow jumper at the buzzer bounced painfully off the rim.

The Mount had rallied from an 11-point deficit over the game's final 5 minutes and forced overtime on Shivaughn Wiggins 3-pointer with 13 seconds. The freshman who played for an injured Josh Castellanos had a career high 20 points making 8 of 10 shots from the field including all three from behind the arc.

Both teams shot very well from inside the arc, but ultimately it was Bryant's success at the foul line that made the difference. Bryant was 19-of-22 while the Mount was 7-of-13.

Rashad Whack, who had back-to-back threes in the rally, scored 17 for the Mount, while Sam Prescott had 16.

The road trip continues Saturday at Central Connecticut as the Mount looks to snap a three-game losing streak.

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Sunday, January 06, 2013

Biggest win of Season

If you didn't recognize the crossroads that the Mount basketball team was at entering last night's home NEC game versus Monmouth, you've probably missed most of the last month of play.

The Mount had lost 4 of its last 5 and had seen its efficiency from behind the arc, and its ability to turn teams over diminish a bit during that stretch.

However, there definitely had been some positives on the Mount's desire to become a complete basketball team. The inside play of Kristijan Krajina had really started to develop and Taylor Danaher and Raven Barber had shown the ability to score inside points.

In addition, there had been stretches where the halfcourt defense had performed admirably, despite the fact that teams were in total still shooting a high percentage.

But it certainly did seem like the more the Mount missed from the outside the more the frustration mounted.

However, none of that was evident Saturday night. The Mount went about the first five or six minutes without shooting a three, and didn't make one until less than 10 minutes remained in the half. Yet they had built a lead  and seemed in control of the game at that point.

Not only was Krajina scoring inside but guys were moving past an overplay on the perimeter to knock down mid-range jumpers.

Defensively the Mount wasn't forcing as many turnovers as they had been, but they were still settling in much better on the defensive end.

And all of a sudden they started to look like that team that was complete. The looks from outside were more open, and the shots started to drop. Sam Prescott, who matched Krajina's 15 for a team high, knocked down three three-pointers and the Mount shot a very good 4-of-10 from behind the arc in the first half.

In the second half, it looked as if Monmouth would rally on several occasions. But as soon as the Hawks pulled close the Mount made a run. And then maybe that constant pressure paid its biggest reward of the evening. The Mount pushed the lead back to double figures with a run that consisted of some Barber buckets inside, a Whack three, and a steal and an easy layin for Kelvin Parker.

And you had to feel good for Parker last night.

As well as the team had been playing in the first few months of the season, Parker hadn't really been a part of that on the floor. But he looked good on Thursday and was rewarded with more minutes on Saturday night. He made the most of it. And all of a sudden the Kelvin Parker that we saw as a lot of as a walk-on freshman, was back to contributing.

The completeness to the team was obviously more evident last night.

That is going to be needed over the next several weeks. The Mount begins a murderous stretch of seven games (Sorry Coach I did look ahead) that features five road games and home games against Wagner and Quinnipiac.

Without anything but a complete performance on Saturday night, the task would have appeared even more daunting.

Now, I think there is a sense of confidence again.

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Mount O'LInks 1/6

Carroll County story from Monmouth Win

Frederick Post Story from last night's win

Robert Morris winless in conference play

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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Mount gives Christian first NEC win

Four players scored in double figures as the Mount rebounded from Thursday night's league opening defeating, downing Monmouth 71-58 at the Knott Arena.

Kristian Krajina and Sam Prescott had 15 to lead the Mounties, while Julian Norfleet and Kelvin Parker each had 11.

The Mount seized control midway through the first half and gamely fought off a couple on Monmouth rallies in the second half.

I'll have more thoughts and reactions tomorrow.

But this was a nice win for the Mount and gives them a little boost as the head out on the road next week.

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