Saturday, December 12, 2009

Prov City - Mista Mista (Video)


Nicely done video by Mista Mista showing some nice shots of the city. Just wish it was a longer vid.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Forbes Ranks Providence in Top 5 of America's Most Stressful Cities

More good news for my home city of Providence. Not only are we the hardest city to get by in, but Forbes.com has also ranked us in the Top 5 of America's Most Stressful Cities, ahead of even Detroit. Pretty sad when I saw this article that I just KNEW Providence would be pretty high up on the list.

Might explain why I listen to so much M.O.P. to release my stress, especially this joint....

4. Providence, R.I.

Providence, tied for fourth place with Cleveland, Ohio, ranks as the fifth worst city for employment, with the unemployment rate up to 12.1% in June. It ranks tenth for cost of living and thirteenth for population density at 975 people per square mile.

Here's the full story:

Sinking property values, high unemployment and prices, and poor environments add to the pressure felt by residents in these metros.

Few enjoy their commute. Just ask Stephen Dinwiddie, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of Chicago.

"I think anybody who, like I do, commutes on the Kennedy on a daily basis knows exactly what stress is," he says, of his daily home-to-work commute on Chicago's expressway that extends from the Chicago Loop to O'Hare International Airport. "It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to several centuries--at least subjectively."

But more pressing factors make Chicago for the second year in a row the country's most stressful city. Crowding, poor air quality, a high 11% unemployment rate and free-falling home values have created a cocktail of constant worry affecting many in the Windy City.

Los Angeles, Calif., ranks second, followed by New York, N.Y., Cleveland, Ohio, and Providence, R.I.

Behind the Numbers

To find the country's most stressful cities, we examined quality of life factors in the country's 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or metros--geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics. We looked at June 2009 unemployment figures provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and cost of living figures from the Council for Community and Economic Research. We examined median home-price drops from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009 that were provided by the National Association of Realtors. Population density based on 2008 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ESRI also factored. Last, we examined the number of sunny and partly sunny days per year, based on 2007 data from the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, as well as air-quality figures, based on 2007 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The economic climate is clearly kicking up stress levels. In March, the National Sleep Foundation reported that more than a quarter of 1,000 survey participants were sleeping less because of the economy.

The recession has also forced Americans to skimp on health care. In a February telephone poll of 1,200 adults conducted by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, 53% of respondents said they cut back on health care costs by avoiding doctor's visits, skipping dental checkups and not filling prescriptions, among other strategies.

Year-over-year housing-price drops may also be behind Americans' anxiety.

"A forty-three percent drop is something that could easily be classified as a housing-market cataclysm," says Andres Carbacho-Burgos, economist at Moody's Economy.com, of the Q1 2008 to Q1 2009 median home-price plunge in San Francisco. That's compared with the national median home-price dip of 14.7% during that same time. "Over that long a period of time a drop that significant for San Francisco, or for the Bay Area as a whole, indicates just that the economy has turned sour and that credit is very, very tight and has been over the past year."

What's more, the drastic decline is not representative of the housing market as a whole--rather of the composition of homes being sold, says Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. Almost 50% of homes sold nationwide in the first quarter of 2009 were distressed homes. One-third of those were short sales, and two-thirds were foreclosures, Molony says.

Though there are signs of a bottoming in some markets, falling home prices can immediately impact residents in two ways: first by affecting employment in the housing-related or real estate fields, and second by reducing consumer spending in metro areas with relatively large home-equity declines. Consumer spending in July was flat, erasing hopes of a kick-started economy.

And few are going to start spending when jobs are scarce. Perhaps no one knows that better than residents of Detroit. There, unemployment is 17.1%, thanks to the collapse in the auto industry. Employee cutbacks in General Motors plants and other makers of car parts led to the drastic 14.8% unemployment rate increase from May to June 2009, says Steve Cochrane of Moody's Economy.com.

Other cities have different reasons for stress: Pittsburgh comes in second for the least amount of sunny days, and ninth for low air quality. While for years we’ve been told to avoid certain skin cancers by staying out of the sun, new research showed a link between low vitamin D levels and increased propensity to the common cold. It’s also believed that vitamin D receptors in cells and tissue may help regulate the immune system. Irritants in the atmosphere can cause increased incidences of asthma, chest tightness or cough.

But there are ways to stay sane in cities while the state of the economy stays stressful. Dinwiddie says it's important to identify what's causing stress to be able to tackle it, and to find a good balance between work and home. He also points out that one of the good things about big cities is that they offer a variety of things that can rapidly change an individual's environment. "It's easy, for example, to go to the beach or catch a Cubs game," he says. "Although I suppose some people wouldn't consider that to relieve stress."

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jay-Z To Perform In Providence At Dunkin' Donuts Center on October 24

Looks like Jay-Z's tour will be coming to Providence...I swear the last time he was here was 1998 with Red & Meth, DMX, Mya and some other people...

When: Saturday, October 24, 2009 8:00 PM

Doors: 7:00 PM

Where: Dunkin’ Donuts Center Providence, RI

Opening Acts: N.E.R.D., Wale, J. Cole

Smartest - Jon Hope

New Joint for all you dumb cats from the homey Jon Hope.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ryan Westmoreland - Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet

Rhode Island's own Ryan Westmoreland showed up in last week's Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet:

RYAN WESTMORELAND, CF, RED SOX

Team: short-season Lowell (New York-Penn)

Age: 19

Why He's Here: .400/.500/.720 (10-for-25), 1 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B, 6 RBIs, 8 R, 5 BB, 3 SO, 3-for-3 SB

The Scoop: The athletic Westmoreland has more than held his own against older competition in the New York-Penn League. The teenager is riding a nine-game hitting streak and has raised his average to an even .300/.403/.491 in 220 at-bats. A shoulder injury cost the '08 fifth-round pick a chance to make his pro debut last summer, and he didn't start playing in the field this year until Aug. 16. The injury never slowed down his legs though, as Westmoreland is a perfect 19-for-19 stealing bases and is hitting .318/.422/.471 in August.

Theo Martins - S.A.B. Radio Interview, Part 1 (Video)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

DJ Premier at Jerky's Live Music Hall in Providence on October 10th

DJ Premier will be at Jerky's in Providence on October 10th...details below:

Date/Time: Saturday October 10, 2009

Time: 9:00pm - 1:00am

Entry Type: Club Event

Location: JERKY’S

Street Adr: 71 RICHMOND STREET

City: PROVIDENCE

State: Rhode Island

Zip: 02903

Notes: $20.00 21+ EVENT

Styles P To Peform at Jerky's Live Music Hall in Providence on August 21st

Styles P will be at Jerky's in Providence tomorrow...details below:

Date/Time: Friday August 21, 2009

Time:8:00pm - 12:00am

Entry Type: Club Event

Location: JERKY’S

Street Adr: 71 RICHMOND STREET

City: PROVIDENCE

State: Rhode Island

Zip: 02903

KRS-1 To Peform at Jerky's Live Music Hall in Providence on September 19th

KRS-One will be at Jerky's in Providence on September 19th...details below:

Date/Time: Saturday September 19, 2009

Time: 8:00pm - 11:00pm

Entry Type: Club Event

Location: JERKY’S

Street Adr: 71 RICHMOND STREET

City: PROVIDENCE

State: Rhode Island

Zip: 02903

Notes: $25.00 21+ EVENT

Raekwon Performs at Jerky's Live Music Hall In Providence (Video)

Let It Out - Mista Mista

This track will be featured on Tecknowledgy's mixtape "Modern Tecknowledgy" which also features artists such as: Donny Goines, El Prez, Convinced, Fresh Daily, Kel Spencer and many more. "Modern Tecknowledgy" is set to release late November 2009
-- -Mista Mista


http://www.mistamistaonline.com/
www.twitter.com/mistamista
www.youtube.com/mistamistaonline

Download: Let It Out - Mista Mista

Friday, July 24, 2009

Forever - Jon Hope

New joint from Jon Hope getting his "Keith Murray" on.

Download: Forever - Jon Hope

More: New Joints

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jimmy Baron To Play For Utah Jazz In 2009 Orlando Pro Summer League

Looks like Jimmy Baron will be trying to make the NBA by playing for the Utah Jazz in the NBA Summer League:

Also expected to participate in camp are former Jazz training camp invitee Kevin Lyde, Utah Flash players Andre Ingram and Kevin Kruger, and former Utah State Aggie Gary Wilkinson. The rest of the roster includes former NBA players James Augustine, Cedric Bozeman and Justin Reed, in addition to rookies Jim Baron, Josh Duncan, Wes Mathews, Reyshawn Terry and Larry Turner. (NBA.com)

Not sure if Baron will make the team, but this might be a good fit for him playing under Jerry Sloan. The Jazz do already have a player similar to Baron though in Kyle Korver, who is pretty much Utah's token three-point shooter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

West Roxbury's Gerard Coleman Commits to Providence College

The PC Friars have gotten a verbal committment from Gerard Coleman, who is a big time high school basketball prospect from West Roxbury, Mass. Coleman is a 6'3, 185 pound shooting guard who is considered the 63rd best player in the high school class of 2010 and the 18th best SG overall, according to ESPN.

They also give Coleman an overall grade of 94, which means he is a "high major prospect", who "has the potential to significantly contribute as a freshman for most national programs. He could be a three- or four-year starter and have an opportunity for all-league honors."

Here are some scouting reports on Gerard Coleman, via ESPN:

April, 2009: Gerard is a lean lefty that plays efficient and smooth. Offensively he is a very good shooter beyond the arc and consistently shot the ball well from deep at the Boo Williams Nike invitational. He is very good off the bounce and slashes to the basket where he uses his athleticism and creativity to finish in traffic. His mid range game is a solid part of his game. His ability to drive to the rim, set up his mid game, where his quick leaping ability and use of angles allow him to score. Already a very good one on one player, if he can improve his mid game he has the potential to be a good scorer at the collegiate level. He has the physical tools and ball handling skills allow him to score in bunches, particularly in transition. Defensively he has quick feet and showed a tenacity to defend both on and off the ball. Improved strength and maturation will add to his overall game.

January, 2009: Coleman has a playing style, body-type, and on-court demeanor that closely resemble former NBA great Eddie Jones. Coleman, a southpaw, has range that extends out to the 3-point line and gets very good lift on his jumper, a testament to his very good leaping ability. He would enjoy more accuracy from distance if he keeps his shooting wrist cocked on the catch, creating a 90 degree angle with his arm, which would help to improve his follow-through. Coleman has good body control and a quick first step, getting to the basket with relative ease. He also uses his leaping ability to hang and adjust in air when he gets to the rim. Coleman has to add to his middle game by incorporating a pull-up jumper as a well as get significantly stronger in order to finish at the rim on the next level. When he dedicates himself, he does a very good job of moving his feet and using his long wing-span to pressure opposing ball-handlers. With added strength, he would become an even better on-ball defender. He has very wide shoulder which shots that he could get stronger and add more muscle to his wiry frame. Similar to Eddie Jones, he also plays passing lanes and anticipates for steals very well.

August, 2008: Gerard is developing into a prolific scorer. He knocks down the 3-point shot at a fairly consistent basis. When he gets into the paint he shows an under control middle game as he elevates over his defender. This lefty can get all the way to the rim and finish with his wiry strong body. At the basket he can take contact and score the ball or see the help defender and slither his way around to avoid the defense. In the open floor Gerard excels as he runs the break with scoring in mind always attacking with his eyes on the rim. He doesn't take many bad shots and is a willing passer. He goes to the offensive glass looking for put-backs or tip-in dunks with his strong athletic ability. Defensively he gets on the glass and shows the ability to rebound the ball and handle it on the break. On the perimeter he has the ability to keep his man out of the lane and needs to concentrate on that aspect. With his length he could be a disruptive defender.

July, 2008: Coleman really made his presence felt on the BABC team with his ability to score. He is a long thin lefty that is wiry strong. Coleman sprints the wing in transition and is a threat to not only get to the rim but he can shoot the three off the catch as well. His stroke looks good, he has a high release and good follow through. From the wing he is a slasher. Coleman likes to drive right to get all the way to the rim and left to shoot his floater in the lane. He is a good athlete that can elevate and he has touch to arc the ball over outstretched hands. He is also a pretty good ball handler and passer with the ability to penetrate and kick to an open teammate when the defense cuts him off. Coleman is a decent defensive rebounder but could be better with the speed and quickness he possesses. Defensively he is athletic enough to guard both guard positions. He must add strength but has all the tools to be an excellent college player. One of the true sleepers I saw this summer.

May, 2008: Long, young, athletic and very talented. Gerard is a work in progress. You can see how with maturity in the next two years he will continue to get better. He can shoot, dribble, pass and rebound. He plays very smooth and is under control. He does everything right. A good decision maker on the break, runs and jumps. Strength will help him in his progress. He needs to hit the weight room. Defense is an area he must work harder on and learn to play the ball hard and use more of his athletic ability to cause turnovers, steals and deflections. Unlimited potential for a sophomore.

December, 2007: Gerard is a very talented, but still somewhat raw offensive player. His greatest improvement needs to come in his overall consistency as he can dominate certain games and disappear from others. The lefty has a good looking jump shot that he can knock down from the three-point line and in. While he has a quick first step and a good enough handle to get past his man he is often bumped off the line off his drive thanks to his lean physique. His lack of upper body strength can also make finishing at the rim a challenge. Defensively, he is plenty quick laterally and extraordinarily long and consequently able to be very effective. Overall, he is a player with a high upside who needs more playing experience and increased muscle mass.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Agreed - Jon Hope (Live Performance)

New joint from Prov City's own Jon Hope, plus a live performance of the joint and some words from Jon Hope himself about how the city of Providence made him who he is. Took the words right out of my mouth...keep reppin' Providence kid.

Download: Agreed - Jon Hope

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jimmy Baron & Weyinmi Efejuku: Working Hard For The NBA Draft

Looks like URI's Jimmy Baron and PC's Weyinmi Efejuku are still hoping to hear their names called in the NBA Draft, via ProJo Sports:

It only takes one.

That, in a nutshell, is the philosophy driving both Jimmy Baron and Weyinmi Efejuku as they try to work themselves onto the radar screens of teams leading up to the NBA Draft.

Baron and Efejuku have signed with agents and are working out with other elite college players as they look to improve their skills and shine in workout sessions with pro teams. Right now neither player is popping up on the numerous mock drafts, but they both hold out hope that will change leading up to the June 25 selections.

"I believe it's possible," said Efejuku, the leading scorer (15.7 ppg) at Providence College in 2009. "Getting into the draft or playing for a (NBA) team in a summer league as a free agent is my primary focus."

Efejuku graduated from PC on May 18 and is spending a few days with his mother at her home in Atlanta. He has signed with an agent, Merle Scott of United Worldwide Sports, and will travel to Chicago next week to train at the ATTACK Athletics Training Center. That's the gym the NBA is currently running its pre-draft camp at this week.

Neither Efejuku or Baron was among the 52 players invited to the NBA's official combine. Unlike previous years, those players will not play 5-on-5 games. Instead they'll be measured and weighed and be available for interviews or private workouts, somewhat similar to the NFL's combine in Indianapolis.

Both Efejuku and Baron have already worked out for some NBA teams. Efejuku spent last Friday in Washington with the Wizards along with Villanova's Dwayne Anderson and Gonzaga's Micah Downs. He mentioned prospective dates with the Celtics, Trailblazers and Thunder coming up in June.

"The teams say I need to improve my ballhandling in the fullcourt, just in order to beat pressure," he said. "Everyone likes my speed and athleticism and shooting but I need to keep my conditioning up and hit more shots in the mid-range game."

Baron remains in Santa Monica, Cal., where he's working with other clients of the Wasserman Media Group, one of the largest agent firms in the business. WMG held a workout last Friday to showcase their 2009 draft clients, a group that includes Baron, James Johnson (Wake Forest), Gerald Henderson (Duke), Wayne Ellington (North Carolina), DaJuan Summers (Georgetown), K.C. Rivers (Clemson), Ryan Ayers (Notre Dame) and Josh Shipp (UCLA). Several teams, including Sacramento, Charlotte, Portland, Toronto, Detroit and the Clippers and Lakers, attended.

Johnson and Henderson are considered potential lottery picks and certain first-rounders. Ellington and Summers are also hearing first-round buzz.

"Jimmy shot the ball well, as usual, and a lot of teams saw him," said Rob McClanahan, the Cranston native and workout guru who with WMG's basketball clients.

The other players most prominently mentioned as likely top 10 picks include Blake Griffin (Oklahoma State), Hasheem Thabeet (UConn), guard Ricky Rubio (Spain), Jordan Hill (Arizona), James Harden (Arizona State), Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Jrue Holiday (UCLA), Tyreke Evans (Memphis) and Brandon Jennings, a top prep senior in 2008 who spent the 2008-09 season playing in Italy.

Both Efejuku and Baron will be invited to group workouts over the next month where teams will need additional players to perform around the bigger names available in the draft. While not the featured performers, those are additional opportunities for both players to open some eyes. One team both players want to be seen by is Portland. The Blazers own the rights to four second-round picks, as well as one (24th overall) in the first round.

"The feedback we're getting has been good and this is the top priority right now," said Efejuku. "If (getting drafted) doesn't happen, there's the summer leagues and then, maybe, a shot in Europe. But playing in the NBA is the primary focus."

URI Baseball Snubbed By NCAA Baseball Comittee

Looks like the Rhode Island baseball team got snubbed and was left out of the NCAA Tournament. I just recently found out that my boy Idris is an assitant coach for the Rams as well:

And as a kid, assistant coach Idris Liasu, a native Nigerian, was always hanging around Hendricken Field when Foster played for PC. Liasu later played for CCRI and Bethany College.

Here's the scoop on the Rams snub, via ProJo Sports:

Despite posting a school record for wins en route to a 37-20 mark and finishing with an RPI rating of 53, the University of Rhode Island baseball team learned earlier this week that it was not among the field of 64 invited to play in the NCAA Regional Tournament.

URI coach Jim Foster says that he is "definitely disappointed" in the selection committee's decision, adding that this year's process "has set college baseball back five years by doing this."

"I think a lot of people feel the same way," he said of URI's omission from the tourney when reached by phone Wednesday. "For a team from New England to do what we did this year . . . . it hasn't really happened before, the success we had. And I think we definitely did enough to get in. We beat two ACC teams, three or four Top-25 teams. We almost beat the No. 2 team in the country -- they were No. 1 at the time. So we couldn't have done anything else. I've been getting text messages and e-mails and phone calls for two days now saying, 'It's unbelievable what you guys have done.' "

Going 19-6 against Atlantic-10 Conference opponents, which included a sweep of regular-season champion Dayton, URI earned the second seed and a first-round bye in the Atlantic-10 Championship, where the Rams advanced to the title game against No. 3 Xavier with wins over the Muskateers and Dayton – 7-6 and 9-2, respectively.

Xavier avenged its earlier setback to URI, defeating the Rams, 9-7 and 10-1, to capture the A-10 crown. Earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the process, Xavier (18-9) will face Kansas State in the Houston Regional.

The Rams' non-conference opponents this season included Cal State Fullerton, Oklahoma State, N.C. State, Santa Clara, Ohio State and Miami. They were 4-4 against those teams, posting wins over N.C. State, Miami, Ohio State and splitting with Oklahoma State.

"We have three great quality starting pitchers who can beat anybody. We've got guys who are going to be drafted. We've got all the ingredients that they look for," said Foster, now in his fourth year at the Rams' helm. "We have a great story. We're building something special here."

However the NCAA Selection Committee, headed by chairman Tim Weiser, apparently did not feel URI had done quite enough.

Weiser -- who is also deputy commissioner of the Big 12 Conference -- was asked to justify the selection of two schools from his conference, Baylor (10-16 Big 12, 29-24 overall) and Oklahoma State (9-16 Big 12, 32-22 overall), which finished eighth and ninth, respectively, in their 10-team league, over URI. He said in a media conference call earlier this week that URI's 12 losses to teams with an RPI ranking above 100 worked against the Rams. He also cited their non-conference strength of schedule, which he said was in "the triple digits."

Foster said URI's schedule is largely dictated by the conference it plays in. And although budget constraints and the players' academic commitments make it difficult for the Rams to travel out of the region for their mid-week games, they still played the toughest schedule they've ever had.

As for the losses, he said, "Everybody stubs their toe over the course of the season. It's not football. It's not basketball. It's baseball and you're all going to lose some games."

"I'm proud of the guys. I'm proud of what we accomplished. I'm just disappointed about not being able to play another weekend," said Foster, a former standout catcher at Providence College in the 1990s who went on to play 10 years in the minor leagues. "I've been in two regionals, and it's a blast. That's why you put in all the hard work."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Real Son of Sam Horn

Remember Sam Horn? Well, his son plays baseball for North Kingston High School and he is trying to follow in his father's footsteps, via ProJo's High School Game Time:

The Sons of Sam Horn is a well-known, online-message board focusing on the Red Sox and named in honor of one of the more enigmatic players to play for them.

But Jamale Horn?

He's the real son of Sam Horn.

And on this afternoon he is playing left field for North Kingstown High School against Portsmouth, a big-rangy kid with his own baseball dreams.

Once upon a time, way back in 1982, Sam Horn was the number-one draft pick of the Red Sox, billed as the franchise's power hitter of the future, the California kid with the big dreams. In 1987, he was tearing up the International League as a member of the PawSox. Called up by the Red Sox in July, he went on to hit 14 home runs, one of the few bright spots in a lost season. That was back when he thought baseball always was going to be as easy as a batting-practice fastball.

He was big, he was left-handed, and when he crushed one you could see what all the fuss had been about, could close you eyes and see him seemingly doing this forever. Back before he learned that baseball can be a cruel mistress, back before the negatives began to pile up like some bad credit rating. Back before the roller-coaster ride began for Sam Horn, three years with the Orioles, in the Indians' farm system with Manny Ramirez, then with the Pirates, Rangers and Yankees.

Have bat, will travel.

So by the time he showed up in North Kingstown in 2002, his career was over, and he had an indoor baseball facility off Route 2 called Around the Horn.

Jamale Horn was 6 years old.

"I grew up in Around the Horn," he said.

Interestingly, he says he doesn't really know a lot of the specifics of his father's career, other than the fact his father wasn't around a whole lot when he was a child, Sam Horn playing overseas at the time. Nor has he ever gone on the Sons of Sam Horn Web site, even though he's heard of it.

But from the beginning, he was always Sam Horn's kid, a big thing in a small town where you are playing Little League and no one else's father ever played in the big leagues. And as he grew up playing sports, the ramifications of that became heavier. The Son of Sam Horn.

It was after his recent high school game, and he was sitting on a row of bleachers. He is 6-foot-5 and lanky, a different body than his father had when he first came into professional baseball, not as big, not as powerful, but you can see the young Sam Horn in his face. He was asked if he ever felt any pressure being Sam Horn's son.

"I feel pressure all the time," he said.

He feels pressure because his father was a major-league baseball player, and because of that he is somehow viewed differently, real or imagined.

He feels pressure because he's now got his own baseball dreams, and he's now a senior in high school and his future will soon start. Next year he will go to a Georgia junior college, the first stop on what he hopes will one day take him down the same path his father once walked.

"He's got skills baseball-wise that you can't teach," said his coach, Kevin Gormley. "He's got five-tool talent."

But becoming a professional baseball player is a long process, takes more than just talent and potential. It takes hard work and determination, and often a little luck, too. If you can see the talent on a high school baseball field in Rhode Island, can see the potential, it's still little more than the first step in the process.

So it is with Jamale Horn.

"He's never really committed himself to baseball," Gormley said.

One theory is that he liked basketball better, and, in truth, Horn was a very good Rhode Island high school basketball player, one of North Kingstown's best. To the point that last summer, he didn't play legion ball, taking the summer off from baseball.

Another?

Baseball was just something he did, something he was good at, certainly, but nothing that defined him. One senses that has changed, that it's now time to get serious. Gormley thinks so, anyway.

Maybe it was the Cincinnati Reds coming down one day to watch him take batting practice. Maybe it was the realization that he's 6-5 and athletic, the kind of size that jumps out at you on a high school baseball field. Maybe it's simply that he wants this to be his future.

Whatever the reason, Jamale Horn is now serious.

"He's a special talent," Gormely said. "I think he's got a shot."

Like father, like son?

We'll see.

For a lot of people still remember Sam Horn, a name that lives on through the Sons of Sam Horn website.

But only Jamale is the real Son of Sam Horn.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Repeat - Mista Mista feat Taktix

New joint from the homies Mista Mista & Taktix. Also, Mista Mista's debut album will be released in mid-June.

Repeat - Mista Mista feat Taktix

More: New Joints

Thursday, April 30, 2009

West Virginia's Joe Mazzulla Charged With Domestic Battery

Johnston, Rhode Island native, Joe Mazzulla; looks to be in hot water again at West Virginia, via ProJo Sports:

Joe Mazzulla’s future with the West Virginia basketball team is very much in jeopardy because of Mazzulla’s second arrest involving alcohol-related problems.

The 20-year-old Johnson resident has been indefinitely suspended by Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins after his arrest last week on charges of domestic battery. He was involved in an incident at The Lazy Lizard bar in Morgantown in which he allegedly grabbed a woman by the neck.

It was the second arrest for the Hendricken High grad. He pleaded guilty to charges of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct after an incident last September at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game in which he had a disagreement with security personnel.

“Joe is suspended indefinitely from all basketball related activities,” Huggins said in a statement issued through the school’s sports communications office. “We take violations of our team rules very seriously.”

Huggins will have no further comment on the situation at this time, the statement said. Bryan Messerly, the school’s contact for men’s basketball, said Monday that there is no timetable for the issue to be resolved.

Dan Mazzulla, Joe’s father, told The Providence Journal Monday night that his son very much enjoys being at West Virginia and hopes to stay.

``He has some personal issues and he’s being treated as we speak,’’ Mazzulla said. ``It’s a delicate issue.’’

He would not go into any detail other that to say the issues are medically related.

``He absolutely loves it there. He’s getting the proper treatment,’’ Mazzulla said. ``He hopes to stay.’’

Mazzulla, coming off a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament in March of 2008, began the season as the Mountaineers’ starting guard. However, he missed all but seven games because of a fractured growth plate in his left (shooting) shoulder. The problem happened in a fall during a game in December. It was hoped the problem could be solved without surgery, but when it did not go away Mazzulla had surgery in February and was in a brace for six weeks.

Mazzulla, who has been a Big East Academic All-Star and a member of the WVU athletic director’s academic honor roll, still is not fully healed. Attempts to reach him and members of his family Monday were not successful.

Assuming he would be given a red-shirt for this past season, Mazzulla still has two years of eligibility remaining.

His situation could be impacted by the personnel situation with the team. The Mountaineers recently signed the national junior college player of the year, Casey Mitchell. Mitchell is a 6-4 shooting guard from Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. His signing gives the team, which was a six seed in the NCAA Tournament this year but was beaten by Dayton in the opening round, commitments for 15 players for 2009-10. That is two above the limit, so the team will have to make moves to reduce its commitments by two.

URI Signs High Scoring North Carolina Guard Akeem Richardson

The URI Rams just signed a high scoring guard from North Carolina in Akeem Richmond, via ProJo Sports:

The Sanford, N.C., Herald reported on its blog Wednesday that Akeem Richmond, a 6-foot-1 guard who was the player of the year in his area, has signed a national letter of intent with Rhode Island.

Richmond had visited URI last month and reportedly was the Rams' top target in the late recruiting. Richmond is a combo guard who scored 2,846 career points and averaged 29.2 points for Southern Lee High in Sanford this past season.

He also was considering Charlotte, Western Kentucky and South Florida.

With the loss of Jimmy Baron, URI lacks depth in the backcourt, with only four guards on the roster, and badly needs someone who could help right away in 2009-10. Richmond apparently will get a chance to do that.

Here is a scouting report on Akeem Richmond, via ESPN U:

February, 2008: A scoring guard who has been a big time scorer for years. He does need to work on his shot selection, but Richmond can really score in bunches. He is very good at shooting off the dribble and can really find ways to get his own shot as well as create for others. Richmond can also score off screens and he is a good defender as well when he wants to be. Richmond needs to get stronger and needs to become a better 3-point shooter. While he has a good feel for how to play, Richmond also needs to know how to get others involved more as well. He needs strength to be able to finish at the next level.

2007: Akeem is a scoring point guard. He thinks score first and pass second. He is a decent distributor. He needs strength but he is talented. He is just an average defender at this point. Akeem is a top 125 player in the 2009 class nationally.

They rate him as the 55th best PG in this class and give him a scouts grade of 86, which means he is mid-major prospect and "should be a solid contributor and two- or three-year starter at a mid-major program." Well, URI is pretty much a mid-major in my eyes when it comes to recruiting talent, so this should be a solid pick up for them.

Also, Richmond seems happy with his decision to come to URI:

"It's been a long journey, a long recruiting process," Richmond said. "It's a blessing that I've been able to go through this, but it feels like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders. It's a big relief, and now I'm just very happy."

More: URI

Friday, April 24, 2009

2009 Providence Journal Rhode Island Boys Basketball All-State Team

2009 Providence Journal Rhode Island Boys Basketball All-State Team

Ashton Watkins, Senior, Classical: One of two repeat first-team selections, Watkins led Classical to a 22-3 record overall and its second Division II championship. In the playoffs he scored 26 points against West Warwick in the quarterfinals, 15 in the overtime semifinals victory against Scituate and 13 in a 20-point rout of Narragansett in the finals. He averaged 17.3 points while being double- and triple-teamed most of the season. He went over 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in only 2 ½ seasons with the Purple after transferring from Hope. "He learned to make us a better team without his scoring. When teams took his scoring away, he did other things, like rebound and play defense. He came up with huge rebound after huge rebound. When he had to step up and make big plays, he did. To me, Ashton is the most dominant player in the state. He was double-teamed every time he got the ball. You can't play him straight up," coach Todd Keefe said. And Watkins shared the glory with his teammates. Junior Michael Palumbo was hot during the playoffs, scored 22 points in the finals and was the tournament MVP. "A lot of kids would have forced stuff the last couple of games. He didn't. He put the team first," Keefe said of Watkins.

Billy Baron, Senior, Hendricken: Perhaps the best player in the state this season, Baron repeats as a first-team choice partly because he was at his finest in the big games. In January he scored 42 points in a loss to Mount Pleasant, the only Rhode Island team that beat the Hawks (22-3) this season. He scored 38 in the first of two games against Cranston East, a three-point win, and 36 in the second meeting, a three-point overtime victory at the end of the regular season. In the playoffs he scored 23 in a blowout of Hope in the quarterfinals, 24 in the semifinal rout of Cranston West and 25 points in the championship game against Mount Pleasant. He averaged 23 points for the season. Baron can score from way outside and on layups after daring slashes to the basket. He is a good passer and defender. He won three state championships after playing on the junior varsity as a freshman. "He's a big-time player. He makes the jumper. He goes to the basket. He finds a way to get his shot off in traffic. He goes to the foul line and makes his free throws. He'll be sorely missed," coach Jamal Gomes says.

Billy Soriano, Sophomore, Mt. Pleasant: A dynamic player who can take over a game with his scoring (17.1 points per game), passing (6.5 assists) and defense (2.5 steals), Soriano is quick and has superb court sense. Teammates must always be on alert because of his pinpoint passing, and opponents must be prepared for his shooting. He scored 15 points against La Salle in the quarterfinals, 26 against Cranston East in the semifinals and 25 in the championship game loss to Bishop Hendricken. He led the Kilties to a 22-4 record. "As the games get more important and the stage gets bigger, he thrives on that. He enjoys getting out in front of as many people as he can get in front of," says coach Chris Coleman. "He pushes himself. He compares himself to the best in points, assists, steals, whatever. He wants to be the best. He wants to show everybody what he can do. He's the best pure point guard in the state, in my opinion. What he sees on the court, you can’t coach."

Mike Juarez, Senior, Cranston East: This quiet and respected leader averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He broke the school's career scoring record and finished with 1,557 points. He and the Bolts finished with a 20-5 record, played tough in two three-point losses to Bishop Hendricken, the second in overtime, and almost upset Mount Pleasant in the tournament semifinals, losing by three. Cool under pressure, he didn't hesitate to take the last shot in the semifinals, his 35-footer at the buzzer caroming off the side of the rim. A true leader, after collapsing to the floor in disappointment, he pulled himself together and led his teammates through the postgame handshake line. He scored 22 points in that game. "I've coached a lot of kids in 33 years, and he's one of the nicest," says coach Bill Monigan. "He has been the hardest worker and the leader of this team since he was a sophomore. He's not a loud leader but a leader by example. His fellow players respond to him because he says, 'Yes, coach,' he runs the drills the hardest, and he's never late for practice or the bus. "He has really improved his game. He was always a good shooter, but now he's a very good shooter, he drives to the basket, he's our leading rebounder, and he's a very good defensive player. All the things he improved on he did by hard work and by listening."

Frank Robinson, Senior, Mt. Pleasant: Returning to Mount Pleasant after two years at East Providence High School, Robinson added experience to a team that lost eight players to graduation but welcomed members of the 2008 state junior varsity championship team. A solid player who can get to the basket or sink outside shots, he led the Kilties in scoring (20.0 ppg) and averaged four rebounds and two assists per game. His floater over Mike Juarez in the last minute beat Cranston East in the semifinal. He scored 13 points in the quarterfinals, 23 in the semifinals and 18 in the finals. He had 26 points in the Jan. 13 victory over Hendricken. "His all-around play helped us all season. He was our high scorer most of the games and was consistent all year. We would not have gotten as far as we did without him," said coach Chris Coleman.

Florida's Allan Chaney Might Transfer To Providence College

Current Florida Gator, Allan Chaney, could be leaving Florida to transfer to Providence College, via ProJo College Hoops Blog:

Providence College nearly signed Allan Chaney two years ago when he was coming out of New London, Conn. Instead he chose Florida. Now he may be heading back this way. Chaney is leaving Florida when final exams wrap up next week. He wants to transfer even though he played (and started some games) quite a bit for the Gators as a freshman. Chaney said he hasn't talked with many schools but his parents and high school coach have and Providence is the most persistent school. He said he likes the idea of playing in Keno Davis' system where forwards are allowed to score both inside and out. That is Chaney's game and why former coach Tim Welsh once compared his skill set to that of another Connecticut native, Ryan Gomes. "Providence is really interested. My dad spoke with Coach (Pat) Skerry and I'm definitely interested in talking with Keno Davis," Chaney said. Chaney added that Providence and Virginia Tech ``are my top two right now." Chaney is not back home until the second week of May and won't get a chance to meet with PC's entire staff until then. "I'll probably pick a school by the first of June," he said.
Chaney is a forward who measures in at 6'8 tall and weighs 231 lbs. He averaged just 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in his Freshman year at Florida. He played mostly in the non-conference portion of Florida's schedule and had game highs of 23 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. Seems like he has some potential to have an all-around game and he does have height, so he might be a nice addition to PC's squad if he does decide to transer there.

More: Providence College

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Forbes Ranks Providence As Hardest US City To Get By In

Ain't this a bitch!? You can count me among the 11.6% of unemployed. Thank God for severance pay, unemployment, and oh yeah, can't forget about that blog money! This got me seriously thinking about moving down to Atlanta where my boy is at already.

Here's the scoop, via Forbes:

1. Providence, R.I.
(Providence-Fall River-Warwick, R.I.-Mass., metro area)

Population: 1.6 million

Cost of Living Index: 122

Median Income: $54,064

February 2009 Unemployment Rate: 11.6%

There are few smiles among those who live in Providence, R.I., these days.

In February, the metro area reported an 11.6% unemployment rate, one of the highest in the country. Construction--one of Providence's major industries--is down; traditional manufacturing has been struggling for years. Like many across the country, few are spending at retailers. And while the area's median income is $54,064--about $4,000 higher than the national average--its cost of living index is steep, 22 points above the national average of 100.

All this means it's hard to catch a break in Providence. While not as dire, other metro areas across the country are facing similar situations. It costs more than average to live in Sacramento and Portland. The New York metro area's got an 8.2% unemployment rate; in San Jose, home to Silicon Valley, it's 10%
.

Here's the rest of the list for all you other suckas and poor bastards who aren't quite as unfortunate as me:

2. Los Angeles, California
3. Riverside, California
4. Tampa, Florida
5. Buffalo, N.Y.
6. Portland, Oregon
7. Orlando, Florida
8. Detroit, Michigan
9. Miami, Florida
10. Louisville, Kentucky
11. Sacramento, California
12. Cleveland, Ohio
13. Las Vegas, Nevada
14. Charlotte, North Carolina
15. Rochester, N.Y.
16. Jacksonville, Florida
17. San Jose, California
18. San Diego, California
19. New York, N.Y
20. Memphis, Tennessee

Bonus: Get By (Remix) - Talib Kweli feat Mos Def, Kanye West, Jay-Z, & Busta Rhymes

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vincent Council & Russ Permenter Officially Sign With PC

Vincent Council & Russ Permenter already had verbal committments with PC, but now they are officially coming to PC to play next season, via ProJo Sports:

The Providence College basketball team’s incoming class of recruits is now officially at seven players.

The PC coaching staff received letters-of-intent Wednesday from two players who had verbally committed to the Friars several months ago:. point guard Vincent Council of Brooklyn, N.Y. and the Patterson (N.C.) School and junior college forward Russ Permenter of Temple, Texas.

“We are extremely pleased to be adding Russ and Vincent to our basketball program,” coach Keno Davis said. “They are both very talented student-athletes who we anticipate will have great success at Providence College.”

Council and Permenter join Kadeem Batts (Powder Springs, Ga.), Johnnie Lacy (Milwaukee, Wis.), Duke Mondy (Grand Rapids, Mich.), James Still (Detroit, Mich.) and Kyle Wright (Hartford, Conn.) as newcomers for the Friars.

Council, a 6-foot-2 guard, helped Patterson to the No. 1 ranking among prep school boys teams for most of the season. Patterson finished with a 34-3 mark with Council averaging 10.2 points and 10.1 assists per game. Council shot 53 percent from 3-point territory. Before Patterson, Council played for Lincoln High School (Brooklyn) in 2008 and helped his school to a city title.

Permenter is a 6-9, 230-pound forward who’ll be needed to play right away for the Friars. He currently is at Temple College in Texas where he averaged 17.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game and earned North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference First Team accolades. Permenter led the league in blocks and ranked third in scoring and rebounding. Permenter transferred to Temple after spending his freshman season at the University of Texas-San Antonio, where he battled injuries. During his years at Temple High, Permenter averaged 22 points, 14 rebounds and 6.6 blocks during his senior season and was named District 13-5A MVP and First Team All-District in 2007. He was ranked 27th among Texas high school seniors in 2007, according to TexasHoops.com.
More: Providence College

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Portsmouth Invitational: Weyinmi Efejuku, Geoff McDermott, Kahiem Seawright, & Jimmy Baron - Day 3 & 4

Weyinmi Efejuku, Geoff McDermott, Kahiem Seawright, & Jimmy Baron finished up strong on Day 3 & 4 of the Portsmouth Invitational:

Day 3:

Kahiem Seawright: 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 6-13 FG

Geoff McDermott: 3 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1-4 FG

Weyinmi Efejuku: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 5-9 FG, 1-3 3FG

Here are some Day 3 observations, via Draft Express:

Weyinmi Efejuku: Weyinmi Efejuku did a good job of showing off his versatile skill-set, scoring from all over the court, hitting spot-up jumpers and attacking the basket en route to 12 points on 9 shot attempts. In the lane, his combination of explosiveness and body control were on display once again, as he did a nice job with pump fakes and show-and-go moves. Defensively, Efejuku also performed well, really taking to the challenge on the few plays he was matched up with Jermaine Taylor, despite his limited wingspan. He appears to have all the makings of a productive European league shooting guard.

Day 4:

Weyinmi Efejuku: 9 points, 1 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 4-9 FG, 1-2 3FG

Jimmy Baron: 33 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 11-19 FG, 9-15 3FG

Geoff McDermott: 7 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 3-6 FG

Kahiem Seawright: 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 2-5 FG

Friday, April 10, 2009

Portsmouth Invitational: Weyinmi Efejuku, Kahiem Seawright, & Jimmy Baron - Day 2

Weyinmi Efejuku, Kahiem Seawright, & Jimmy Baron were all in action on Day 2 of the Portsmouth Invitational:

Weyinmi Efejuku: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 5-11 FG, 0-1 3FG

Jimmy Baron: 13 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 5-11 FG, 3-8 3FG

Kahiem Seawright: 0 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 0-1 FG

Here are some observations, via Draft Express:

Weyinmi Efejuku: Weyinmi Efejuku also had some good flashes, showing off his athletic abilities and shot-creating abilities, both pulling up and attacking the rim, but he struggled to put together an efficient performance, scoring 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting along with 3 turnovers. Picking his spots a little better and moving more off the ball to get the ball in prime scoring position should be among his priorities, although he did show nice potential.

Jimmy Baron: Had a very strong second half en route to a 13 point performance. He made shots from all over the floor but also showed a strong basketball IQ with some excellent passes and plenty of unselfishness. His physical limitations are obvious, and he’s clearly not a point guard, but this coach’s son will surely make a team happy overseas.

More: Portsmouth Invitational

What U Lookin' At - Jon Hope feat Mista Mista

New joint from two of Prov City's finest off of Jon Hope's Somekind of Wonderful EP, which you can download below too.

What U Lookin' At - Jon Hope feat Mista Mista

Download EP: Somekind of Wonderful - Jon Hope (EP)

More: New Joints

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Portsmouth Invitational: Geoff McDermott, Weyinmi Efejuku, Kahiem Seawright, & Jimmy Baron

Geoff McDermott, Weyinmi Efejuku, Kahiem Seawright, & Jimmy Baron have all been invited to play in this year's Portsmouth Invitational tournament, which is the only postseason event for college seniors prior to the NBA Pre-Draft Camp and is the only postseason event to include actual game competition.

Here is how McDermott & Baron played on Day 1 of the tournament:

Geoff McDermott: 6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 3-8 FG

Jim Baron: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 4-17 FG, 4-14 3FG

I don't expect either of these two to get drafted, but it looks like Jimmy Baron has come out firing, since he took a team high 17 shots. Efejuku plays today, so make sure to check back here for an update on how he did.

More: Portsmouth Invitational

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PC Has 7 Recruits For 2009-2010 Season

The PC Friars will be adding 7 new players for next season. From what I have heard, Council and Lacy are the best of the bunch. Story via ProJo Sports:

Here is a quick breakdown of how the seven recruits fared this season:

•Kyle Wright, 6-foot-6, Monroe (N.Y.) College. An explosive junior college shooter, this Hartford native may fit Davis’ offensive system better than anyone. He averaged 17.8 points, nearly five rebounds and sank 41 percent of the 94 threes he made for a team that finished one game shy of qualifying for the national JUCO tournament. With a 30-3 record, Monroe dominated teams throughout the East.

•Russ Permenter, 6-9, Temple (Texas) College. This versatile big man is expected to sign with the Friars next month. He is a skilled forward who can stretch his game out to 15 feet or so and averaged 17.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in one of the top JUCO leagues in the country. Temple’s season ended with a loss to Midland College, this year’s national runners-up.

•Johnnie Lacy, 5-10, Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep. Lacy was the highest-ranked piece of PC’s early signing class. He turned down offers from Tennessee and Minnesota. Lacy is very small (160 pounds) but extremely fast and a good passer. He’s capable of playing with Sharaud Curry in a small, fast backcourt. The PC staff will monitor Lacy’s grades until June’s graduation.

•Kadeem Batts, 6-7, McEachern (Ga.) High. Batts anchored the front line on one of the top-five prep teams in Georgia. His team finished 24-4 but was upset in the first round of the state playoffs, despite 14 points and 14 rebounds by the senior forward. Batts’ aggressive nature will be a welcome addition for the Friars.

•James Still, 6-9, Detroit (Mich.) Community School. This slender big man excites Davis because he can run the floor and block shots. Still played on a very bad team that was routinely whacked by some of Detroit’s better teams, but the word ‘upside’ should be permanently attached to his name.

•Duke Mondy, 6-2, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Central Catholic. Combo guard whose team finished 17-5. Mondy had several big scoring games, like in a 35-point outburst in a season-ending loss. Considering PC’s returning stable of guards, Mondy may be a candidate to red-shirt.

•Vincent Council, 6-1, Patterson (N.C.) School. Pure point guard with better size than Lacy or Curry who may end up as the steal of the class. Performed well all season for a loaded prep team that finished 34-3 and included at least 10 Division One prospects. He’s expected to sign with Providence next month.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NIT: URI Defeats Niagara, Will Face Penn State Next

The Rhody Rams took care of Niagara, defeating them 68-62, behind the strong play of Kahiem Seawright and Jimmy Baron. Seawright with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Baron scored 20 for the Rams as well. Next up for URI is Penn State, who is out of the Big 10 and has a record of 23-11 after defeating George Mason yesterday.

Here's a look at the Rams matchups with Penn State:

Rhode Island (Ranks)

Overall Efficiency: .805 (71)
Offensive Efficiency: 112.2 (35)
Defensive Efficiency: 99.2 (129)
Off. Effective FG %: 53.3 (36)
Def. Effective FG%: 50.6 (246)
Off. Turnover %: 18.7 (65)
Def. Turnover %: 20.8 (141)
Off. Rebound %: 37.1 (43)
Def. Rebound %: 67.4 (162)
Off. FT Rate: 34.7 (215)
Def. FT Rate: 33.2 (100)

Penn State (Ranks)

Overall Efficiency: .780 (79)
Offensive Efficiency: 110.0 (56)
Defensive Efficiency: 98.7 (124)
Off. Effective FG %: 51.2 (90)
Def. Effective FG%: 49.5 (182)
Off. Turnover %: 17.3 (18)
Def. Turnover %: 18.4 (291)
Off. Rebound %: 32.3 (193)
Def. Rebound %: 71.9 (20)
Off. FT Rate: 32.6 (276)
Def. FT Rate: 24.3 (4)

URI ranks higher than Penn State, but the two teams are still close enough where this game should be a toss up. Penn State is better on offense than Niagara, but their defense is worse. They are pretty easy to score on, but if the Rams aren't hitting their shots then they might not get too many offensive rebounds, because Penn State is the 20th best defensive rebounding team in the country. The Rams should take their time on offense and make sure they get a good quality shot against a poor defending Penn State team. Penn State is also one of the best teams in the country at not fouling their opposition, so the Rams shouldn't expect to go to the line too much. They might want to drive to the basket more in this game because I'm thinking Penn State will shy away from the contact.

Of course the Rams already defeated Penn State earlier this season; beating them 77-72 in Philadelphia. In that game, URI grabbed only 4 offensive rebounds, but did get to the line 22 times. They shot a respectable 48% from the floor and hit 7 of their 15 threes as well. Jamelle Cornley hurt the Rams in that game with 23 points, but two of Penn State's better players, Talor Battle & Stanley Pringle, combined to shoot just 7 of 25 from the field. I would not expect a repeat performance like that from those two guys, so I think URI might need to have their offense clicking on all cylinders if they want to beat Penn State for a second time this season.

More: URI

Monday, March 16, 2009

PC Friars To Face Miami Hurricanes In NIT

The Friars will get to host Miami in the first round of the NIT because Miami did not want to host the game. Doesn't make sense to me since they will have to pay to send their team to Providence and would probably have made at least some money if they played the game at home. I ain't complaining though.

Here's how the matchup breaks down:

Providence (Ranks)

Overall Efficiency: .778 (80)
Offensive Efficiency: 111.2 (45)
Defensive Efficiency: 99.7 (138)
Off. Effective FG %: 50.9 (100)
Def. Effective FG%: 50.5 (240)
Off. Turnover %: 19.6 (129)
Def. Turnover %: 19.9 (194)
Off. Rebound %: 36.5 (56)
Def. Rebound %: 63.6 (297)
Off. FT Rate: 39.3 (95)
Def. FT Rate: 29.0 (23)

Miami (Ranks)

Overall Efficiency: .876 (40)
Offensive Efficiency: 111.3 (43)
Defensive Efficiency: 93.9 (51)
Off. Effective FG %: 49.4 (152)
Def. Effective FG%: 45.9 (43)
Off. Turnover %: 19.2 (97)
Def. Turnover %: 18.3 (297)
Off. Rebound %: 38.5 (24)
Def. Rebound %: 68.5 (121)
Off. FT Rate: 38.9 (108)
Def. FT Rate: 30.2 (44)

This should be a good matchup between these two teams. They played last year at a neutral site with Miami winning by 6. Most of the players who played in that game are still on each team, but PC now has Shaurad Curry to help them out. Both teams are about equal on offense, but Miami has the better defense. The Friars play at a faster pace than Miami, so whoever dictates the pace of this game will probably win it. I think Jack McClinton is going to absolutely torch PC and could easily put up 30 plus points in this game. Miami is actually a lot better than their record shows. I think if this game was on the road, then PC would lose, but since they are at home then I think they will win this game.

URI To Face Niagara In NIT

The Rhode Island Rams will travel to play Niagara in the first round of the NIT Tournament.

Here's how the matchup breaks down:

Rhode Island (Ranks)

Overall Efficiency: .792 (74)
Offensive Efficiency: 112.3 (37)
Defensive Efficiency: 99.9 (144)
Off. Effective FG %: 53.3 (35)
Def. Effective FG%: 50.9 (255)
Off. Turnover %: 18.3 (57)
Def. Turnover %: 20.8 (142)
Off. Rebound %: 36.8 (50)
Def. Rebound %: 67.6 (155)
Off. FT Rate: 34.7 (216)
Def. FT Rate: 33.4 (104)

Niagara (Ranks)

Overall Efficiency: .807 (70)
Offensive Efficiency: 108.3 (71)
Defensive Efficiency: 95.6 (70)
Off. Effective FG %: 47.7 (223)
Def. Effective FG%: 45.5 (38)
Off. Turnover %: 18.3 (54)
Def. Turnover %: 22.9 (44)
Off. Rebound %: 39.1 (19)
Def. Rebound %: 61.6 (329)
Off. FT Rate: 41.6 (46)
Def. FT Rate: 32.8 (90)

As you can see from the ratings, URI is a better offensive team, while Niagara is better on the defensive end. Niagara big man Benson Egemonye gets to the free throw line a ton, shooting over 6 per game, and he almost shot as many free throws as shots from the floor. He could be a problem down low for URI. Niagara is also 300th in the country in 3-Point shooting, which is good news for the Rams. I expect this team to drive to the basket a lot and dump it down to their big man. I think the Rams can pull this one off if they can play some D and stop Niagara from getting to the hoop. Seawright also needs to stay out of foul trouble against Egemonye. Niagara really only beat two good teams the whole season, Illinois State & Siena, so the Rams should have a great chance of winning.

More: URI

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rocco Baldelli Living Up To Expectations

Rocco Baldelli is living up to and exceeding all the expectations coach Terry Francona had for him coming into spring training, via ProJo Sports:

Terry Francona had watched Rocco Baldelli from afar for years, and heard good things. He was excited when he heard Boston had acquired him. After a few weeks of seeing him in person, he's realized the reviews were selling Baldelli short.

"Guys get injured, channelopathy, whatever, Then you get a chance to see them every day, and realize, like some of the things they can do, and it gets you excited," Francona said. "He hit that double the other day, to left center field, and that ball just jumped off his bat," he said. The Cumberland native looked excellent again Saturday, hitting a single and a double and notching two RBI as the designated hitter in Boston's 9-8 exhibition loss to the Orioles.

The Red Sox signed Baldelli as a right-handed bat off the bench, with the understanding that because of his disease, he would not be able to play consecutive days. When Baldelli joined the team, he may have pushed himself a little too hard, to show his new teammates that he wasn't trying to avoid responsibility or shirk his part by not playing, Francona said.

"When he first came into camp, I think he was really worried about the perception. He's a really good kid, he wanted to do everything," Francona said. The veterans quickly took him aside and let him know they were with him. "I know [Jason] Varitek talked to him, said, 'Hey, we understand,' " Francona said.

Baldelli is hitting .294 with 4 RBI in 17 spring training at-bats. "I do think he's doing really well."

It's still too early to know how much Baldelli will be able to play during the season. Francona is hoping to move up soon to a schedule where Baldelli plays one day, and then pinch hits the next. Playing full games two days in a row may not be in the cards yet. Regardless, the team understands. "I'm hoping that we'll have him a bunch. But if not, we told him, hey, we're willing to bite the bullet here a little bit," Francona said.

More: Rocco Baldelli