Category: Villanova (page 1 of 14)

Brett Brown and Jay Wright are Trying to Bring Peace to the Middle East, At Least on the Court

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Brett Brown has traveled the world coaching basketball, while Jay Wright has spent most of his coaching career in the American northeast. Still, they’ve both led and mentored young players from all over, and had to bring them together to play as a team, regardless of personality, beliefs, or background. They have experience. But all of that isn’t much compared to what they just did by conducting “basketball clinics and conflict-resolution seminars” in Jerusalem and West Bank for PeacePlayers International.

According to a Catholic News Service report, both Wright and Brown connected with PPI via Pistons president Arn Tellem, who is on the board. Brown sounded moved by the whole situation:

“The history is breathtaking, so when PPI offered me the opportunity, I accepted immediately … The concept of teamwork and playing together are common areas that cross-pollinate both coaching basketball and the PeacePlayers’ initiative … It was a first-time opportunity for these kids to learn skills and play basketball … and it was jaw-dropping for me. Their eyes and expressions left an imprint that will not go away soon.”

Brown joined Wright – who brought his wife and kids along to help – in coaching a clinic of “Palestinian, Israeli and American high school players.” The goal of the whole thing was to foster and encourage peace, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank broke out while the coaches were there, but Wright was happy to have helped the kids in any way:

“The goal was to use the sport to enable Arabs and Jews to concentrate on the game of basketball — their skills and the needs of each other as teammates — and to look past the conflict and see each other as human beings, with the ultimate goal being to transform the relationships of Jews and Arabs in the younger generation … We all realized how complex issues are in Israel and Palestine, how a majority on both sides wants peace … yet volatility and politics allow any incident, at any time, to escalate into war.”

These are the kinds of guys you want guiding young players on the court, so it’s good that Brown’s players are – on average – barely older than Wright’s.

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Big 5 Report: St. Joe’s Students Hazed, Temple Prof Charged for Selling Secrets to China

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I’m Kyle Scott and this is your Big 5 Report.

First up, St. Joe’s, where rookie softball players were allegedly hazed by older teammates all while head coach Terri Adams turned a blind eye, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday against the school and head coach. From Philly.com:

The plaintiff, who is identified only as a 20-year-old Jane Doe from outside Pennsylvania, said in the suit she was forced to “hold a plank position in the middle of Church Road with traffic.” She was locked in a car until she drank a baby bottle filled with ketchup, hot sauce, mustard and other kitchen items, according to the suit. And she was forced to drink jello shots even after she informed upperclassmen that she was on medication and didn’t want to drink, the suit said.

What’s more, the alleged abuse occurred over a period of years and university employees including Head Coach Terri Adams, who is named as a defendant, knew about it and did nothing to stop it, according to the suit. Teammates called the plaintiff names and said she was gay and “should come out of the closet,” the suit said. Adams name called, too, referring to the plaintiff as “Sippy” and “Sippy S— in Pants,” according to the suit.

What is Magis, you say? Well, here are a few examples from the lawsuit, which was dug up by Deadspin:

One particularly degrading act that Plaintiff recalls involved calling an upperclassman named by the nickname “Jersey Gem” and performing a sexually lewd dance referred to as a “Jersey Turnpike” in front of this upperclass member of the team. The term “Jersey Turnpike” refers to a sexually lewd act involving bending over ‘doggie style’ in front of another person and simulating intercourse.

During this initiation week in the Fall of 2013, Plaintiff refused to engage in certain other activities but was forced to witness her fellow freshman teammates engage in these activitiesincluding:

a.Being forced to simulate oral sex on wine bottles while video taped;

b.Being forced to simulate manual sex over their clothes; and

c.Being forced to pretend they were coach Terri Adams and simulate an orgasm

Upon information and belief, during this initiation week in the Fall of 2013, one of theincoming freshman became so drunk at an initiation week party that she required emergencyroom treatment for alcohol poisoning. Upon information and belief, Coach Adamsaccompanied this other teammate to the hospital and was aware of the multiple violationsof SJU policies at that time but failed to properly further report the incident within SJUand/or failed to properly act to protect teammates, including Plaintiff, from further violationsof policy and law

Live greater. That’s the Magis.

Meanwhile, on North Broad, a physics professor, Xiaoxing Xi, is being charged in an alleged plot to swap US tech secrets with his motherland. From 6 ABC:

Federal prosecutors say 47-year-old Xiaoxing Xi, an expert in the field of superconductivity, sought prestigious appointments in China in exchange for providing data on a device invented by a U.S. firm.

The Penn Valley resident is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in China.

Xi appeared in U.S. District Court Thursday on four counts of wire fraud. He has been released on $100,000 bond. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer.

Yeah, he’s fucked.

Finally, at Villanova, a student group filmed a documentary about life and poverty in Costa Rica, while an alumnus put the finishing touches on his film exploring the boundaries of sexuality and religion. This has been your Big 5 Report.

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Joe Banner Teaches at Villanova Now

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Really. Kyle is so furious that he’s at a doctor’s appointment right now.

According to Andrew Brandt, former Eagles exec and current Director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law, Joe Banner will be teaching Sports Law in the Fall semester at Villanova University’s School of Law. Brandt announced his new hire on twitter, where Banner has been very active since no longer working for the Cleveland Browns. Banner brings tons of experience to the new gig, from a mostly successful run as the President of the Eagles to an entirely forgettable (and brief) stint as the President of the Browns. He’s also psychic.

I think Kyle might re-enroll just to take this class (and definitely not because he pines for his ‘Nova days every day).

h/t reader Dave

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You Can Help Make the Villanova Piccolo Girl Bobblehead a Reality

I am only interested if it cries real tears.

The biggest star of this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament was not Jahlil Okafor or Karl Anthony-Towns or even the amazing Ron Hunter. And it certainly wasn’t anyone on Villanova. No. It was Roxanne Chalifoux, better known as Villanova’s crying piccolo girl.

For a girl who just showed the same emotion ‘Nova fans all over were feeling — or at least those at Kyle’s house — Roxanne became an instant internet celeb. She was meme’d and gif’d and played with the Roots on Jimmy Fallon. Her fifteen minutes came and went, but you can now immortalize Roxanne in bobblehead form over on Kickstarter.

Started by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame — which is a thing, apparently — the fundraising campaign allows you to get a mini Roxanne for yourself for as little as $15, as long as the goal is met. The goal of $5,000 still has a long way to go (but also a long time to get there) and Kyle’s surely pending order of 100 isn’t gonna get it all the way there.

Kyle: Spent 10 minutes fending off a borderline harassing capital campaign call from Villanova last night (not opposed to giving, but I’m still paying for college… so maybe let’s hold off on the solicitations?), but this… this is something I can get behind.*

*Not really. Feel like wife is still passive aggressively holding that Tollefson jersey against me. Buying a $15 figurine of a college girl might be held over my head for years. “Can I get this purse? IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU SAY BECAUSE THAT DUMB PLASTIC BOBBLEBITCH IS STILL SITTING NEXT TO OUR TV!”

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Villanova Just Landed a Top Transfer

From Paschall's Twitter

From Paschall’s Twitter

From CBS Sports, the media company with those stupid, old-timey blazers that have the CBS Eye on them:

Fordham transfer Eric Paschall has committed to Villanova, sources told CBSSports.com. The news was first reported by SNY.

The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 15.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 2014-15 and will have three years of eligibility remaining. He will sit out the 2015-16 season, per NCAA rules.

BONERJAM. Paschall was the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year last year and was considering Villanova, Kansas, Florida and others. He chose the ‘Cats, but will have to sit out next season and will then have three years of remaining eligibility.

Is it a great day to be a Wildcat, Jay?

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Indeed it is. My spirit fingers are back, baby!

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#spiritfingers

Side note: Fuck you, my robe is awesome.

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Crying Piccolo Girl Describes Her Week

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Crying Piccolo Girl spoke with VUHoops.com about her ridiculous week– from a senior bio piccolo player to a guest on Jimmy Fallon. Her phone died briefly after she was on TV, and once she got connected again, her first thought was to turn to Twitter:

My first reaction was “How did this happen?” but not in a good way. I didn’t really know how to handle it. I knew I had to go into Twitter to formulate some feeling about it. The first thing I saw was all the notifications. I figured the best thing to tweet was my Villanova Wildcats tweet.

But right after I did that I got a Twitter troll. I thought “Oh no, it’s this kind of thing. I’m going to get harassed about it.” And then I started to get worried. But I also got notes of encouragement saying everything would be okay.

Who did you meet behind the scenes of Fallon, and who was your favorite?

Well, I met Jimmy Fallon, all of The Roots, Bubba Watson; all were fantastic. Bubba Watson is so down to Earth, just so nice. He actually asked to take the picture with me! All of The Roots were so welcoming. I was so appreciative of them sitting back and working in this new thing into what they do- they have their own set up, but they were willing to fit me in. A piccolo doesn’t fit with their instrumentation at all, and they learned the fight song and rehearsed it. They were all so kind. Questlove gave me a pair of custom drum sticks. Jimmy Fallon is just as friendly on camera as off camera. He made me feel so comfortable!

Worth is for the Bubba pic alone. A couple other things: 1) Love the instant reaction to check Twitter. 2) One troll?! That’s it? Gotta say– I didn’t think you had it in you, America. Piccolo girl got off lucky. I can’t eat my lunch without getting trolled.

Read the full interview here. Good stuff. Good vibes today here on CB. Good vibes.

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Piccolo Girl Was on Jimmy Fallon Playing Her Piccolo with The Roots Last Night

And somehow, my spirit fingers are happy again.

Is it weird that I got a little choked up watching Piccolo Girl play the Villanova fight song with The Roots? I mean, that’s totally what they were going for, right? Like the band on the Titanic– we may have lost this one, but the music never stops. For the blue and white we will fight. The heart willllll go oooooooooon. Don’t let go, Piccolo Girl. Don’t let go. \\//

Side note: Celine Dion looooove how Piccolo Girl was totally unfazed by everything – Fallon, The Roots, Angelo – until Taylor Swift tickets came into play, then she lost her shit. Can’t blame her. That tour’s going sizzle. That tour NEEDS PICCOLO GIRL.

Side note 2: Look at the grace with which Piccolo Girl handles things on Twitter:

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H/T to Grzy

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This Is Why Villanova Keeps Getting Upset

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So Villanova, a now perennial top 10 team, hasn’t made the second weekend of the tournament since before the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee for the first time. What’s the problem?

I love Jay Wright and the style his teams play– it’s been wildly successful, it’s always entertaining, and it’s led to a 141-61 record since making the Final Four. And yet, no Sweet 16 appearances since. The issue, I think, is the same thing that typically makes Nova so damn good: their freewheeling style of play.

Jay’s teams run a motion offense, which relies more on spacing, talent, guidelines, and, well, motion than it does set plays. Instead of a scripted series of passes and cuts, the motion offense it designed to give players – particularly guards – options to shoot, pass or drive at virtually any moment. Big men and swing players set screens while guards scatter around the perimeter looking to shooting or drive. This is the reason Jay’s teams are always guard-heavy and why the four-guard offense worked so well in 2005-2006– their stellar guards were given the freedom to create.

But that sort of thing is also very predictable and one-dimensional and susceptible to turning sour against athletic teams that clog the lane, if the threes aren’t falling. It’s why Villanova looked awful against Florida in the 2005 [UPDATE: 2006] Elite Eight. It’s why they’ve shot under their season average from three in each of their tournament losses since 2010. It’s why they keep getting upset in March.

This isn’t just as simple as living and dying by the three. Though always below their average, Villanova hovered around 33% on three-pointers in their recent tournament losses. Not great, but often not catastrophic (except for against North Carolina in 2013– 19%). Their shooting woes are typically compounded by the absence of any reliable scoring alternative, even just to break a prolonged drought.

While the Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry and Mike Nardi team got so much attention in 2005-2006, the little secret among Nova folks is that the 2004-2005 and 2008-2009 teams were better constructed, more balanced, and the more legitimate title contenders.

The 2004-2005 team may very well have not needed a bullshit traveling call in the Sweet 16 to go the other way, as a foul on North Carolina, had Curtis Sumpter not torn his ACL in the second round. He was their best player and added a dimension of NBA-caliber size and athleticism that Jay’s teams often lack. At the time, Villanova was flying under the radar and yet had more talent than the team that earned a one seed a year later.

In 2008-2009, Villanova relied as much on big-ish swingmen Dante Cunningham, Dwayne Anderson and Shane Clark as they did on guards Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher and the underachieving Corey Stokes. They crushed UCLA and Duke in the tournament with ferocious defense and a well-balanced attack (and beat Pitt on Reynolds’ run into your hearts). Down the stretch it was the play of Cunningham and Anderson (specifically Cunningham’s proficiency to hit jumpers from the top of the key), and great team defense, not the guard-centric offense, that carried Villanova.

The things everyone talks about when it comes to Villanova – four guards, Scottie Reynolds, goofy-looking white point men – are not necessarily what’s helped to produce Jay’s best teams on the Main Line.

For much of the last two seasons Villanova’s motion offense has operated flawlessly. The team was incredibly deep with a glut of outstanding ballhandlers and better than usual big men. They looked more like the 2009 team than the 2006 team, and that was a good thing. Their passing was crisp, virtually everyone could shoot, and the big men were more than adequate against the B-level competition in this thing vaguely resembling the Big East.* And make no mistake, Villanova was a Final Four caliber team this season. But the prospect of having an off-shooting night against a big, athletic team was always what could derail them. And it’s what happened against NC State.

*That’s not a shot at the conference. This is the best possible Big East that can exist today, but schools like Xavier, Butler and Creighton don’t draw the NBA-level talent as Syracuse and UCONN.

The constant motion and ball movement that looked so effortless all season disappeared on Saturday. It was replaced with standing around, forced shots, and guards dribbling the ball down to a deflated piece of rubber. It reminded me of a particularly ugly loss to St. Joe’s at the Palestra a few years ago during which Scottie Reynolds stood near half court and waved his arms frantically for everyone to get out of his way. Nothing was going right that night and the offense had stalled. Villanova got crushed. To me, that game is the canonical example of what can go wrong with the motion offense when it loses its motion. Things never got that bad against NC State – far from it – but many of the same symptoms were present: Arcidiacono dribbling in circles, everyone jacking up contested threes, big men not quite good enough to finish consistently, lots of standing around. This is what happens when you don’t have set plays to turn to. The motion offense is great when it’s working, but when it’s not, all the practice in the world can’t prepare players for the frustration that comes from an off-shooting night and three huge defenders clogging the lane. Villanova’s lack of a go-to play anywhere near the paint to calm a panicky offense is what, again, doomed them.

The jackass Georgetown grad from the Washington Post was right when he warned against teams in the NCAA Tournament that rely on threes. But again, with Villanova, shooting problems are often compounded by the lack of an adequate post game. Teams will always regress to the mean, so it’s difficult to sustain a tournament run on shooting alone. I have no problem with teams whose strength is the three ball, but the best ones often have complementary facets to their offense, a multi-pronged attack to balance off-shooting nights. You need reliable big men, or, perhaps more specifically, since JayVaughn Pinkston and Daniel Ocehfu were at times dominant this season: balance. Whereas most top seeds require an outlier to lose, Villanova, even as a one seed, seemingly requires a series of outliers just to play to the level of their seed.** They simply don’t have an alternative to driving or jacking up threes, and it’s no surprise that the one year they did – 2009 – they made the Final Four.

**Defined as getting the game where you’re no longer the favorite. Villanova hasn’t even come close to doing this in three appearances as a one or two seed since 2010.

I truly think this may have been Jay’s best team ever, and I honestly believe they were deep and well-rounded enough to make the Sweet 16 with ease. Still, knowing nothing about NC State, I feared playing an inconsistent ACC team, talented enough to earn an at-large bid, this early in the tournament. Think I’m lying? Here are my text exchanges with my friend Matt, also a Nova grad, who appeared on our podcast with Jay Wright last year. From last Sunday night: Continue reading

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