Tip in Twenty

By David Scott - November 19, 2006

HARTFORD - Fairfield hung on for a 46-43 win over Central Arkansas in the night’s opening game, meaning the Stags managed to go 1-2 for the weekend, while Scottie Pippen’s old school (in its first season of Division I play) went 0-for-Hartford.

We are now about 20 minutes from tip of the nightcap between UConn and Ole Miss and both teams are currently shooting around on the Civic Center floor.

. . . Hang Time broke up the trip from Boston with a stop at Jeff Goodman’s National Prep Showcase, being held this year at Asumption College in Worcester. The field was loaded and included highly touted Michael Beasley (Notre Dame Prep, committed to Kansas State) and South Kent’s Matthew Bryan-Amaning (committed to Washington), among other super stud recruits.

Hang Time was able to get some hang time with Ole Miss assistant coach Michael White, who ventured east on Route 84 to get in some recruiting time before he had to return to Hartford for the game.

White, a former point guard for Ole Miss who started during all four of his seasons in Oxford, was raving about UConn’s freshman center Hasheem Thabeet. Part of that praise was also a good deal of fear for his undersized Rebels (relative to UConn's length), who he said will try and draw Thabeet out of the paint with some of their own, outside shooting big men.

Good idea, as Thabeet is averaging just under seven blocks per game in his first three collegiate starts (including nine last night vs. Fairfield). White, a holdover from the prior Rebel staff, is one of the true up and coming coaches in the nation and said that it’s been an amazing experience to work with Andy Kennedy, who he calls an “unbelievable motivator.” The plan, once Kennedy can get his system into place, is to use principles from Cincinnati’s tenacious defensive style, but also combine a little SEC running. Tonight’s game will be a good test to see just how far Ole Miss has to go to re-establish itself among the SEC’s elite.

. . . Hang Time also managed to get some time at the Showcase with Drexel assistants Geoff Arnold and Tony Chiles, who were still riding high off their win at Vermont on Saturday. The win, for the CSTV.com No. 15 Cindex Dragons should open some eyes across the nation. Remember, Vermont beat No. 14 Boston College on the road, earlier this week. On a weekend when the CAA had some upsets (George Mason and Hofstra both lost), Drexel served notice that they are going to have to be reckoned with. Next up for Drexel is Penn on the 21st.

. . . On the other end of the “riding high” spectrum was Providence head coach, Tim Welsh, and his assistant Steve DeMeo, who were also scouting the Showcase. The Friars fell, 51-41 to Brown on Saturday and scored just 14 points in the second half. Welsh is hoping for better things on Wednesday night when Hang Time is in the Dunkin Donuts Center (Providence) for PC and Boston College.

. . .We also caught up with Duquesne assistant coach, Daryn Freedman, whose Dukes are 2-0 and the early feel-good story to the 2006-07 basketball season after the tragic shootings of September 17. Freedman described the events of that day and the ensuing weeks as “surreal,” but that things have regained some semblance of normalcy.

Posted by David Scott at 07:50 PM on November 19, 2006

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