Posts for Big 5

How ‘Bout Them Quakers?

Kevin Kinkead - December 12, 2018

I know what you’re thinking –

“Kyle won’t write about the Villanova loss since he’s a biased Villanova guy.”

That’s partially true. He’s doing business stuff for the site, so he himself is not going to write about it. He asked me to whip something up in his stead.

Penn looked good last night. Really good. Credit where it’s due; they’re a well-coached squad that knows how to space the floor and play disruptive defense and do the small things well. It’s not to say that Jay Wright is chopped liver compared to Steve Donahue, because Jay obviously just won two national championships, but I think we all knew that Villanova was gonna fall off a little bit after losing a bunch of guys to the NBA. Going down to Furman early in the season showed us that they were probably ripe for a Big 5 picking.

The Quakers didn’t win every category across the board last night. They actually took three fewer shots than Nova but were better from the three point line, hitting 7 of 16 tries for a 43.8% number. Villanova put up some deep bricks to the tune of a 9-26 night (34.6%), and that was probably the key difference, the three point shooting, along with Penn grabbing 13 offensive rebounds to offset a -3 turnover margin. Nova’s bench went 0-5 from three and contributed just 11 of their 75 points, while the Quakers got 25 combined points from Michael Wang and Jake Silpe on 7-14 shooting. Nova only mustered six assists as Penn forced them to play off the bounce, and when it came down to the final minutes, they team hit their free throws to finish the job.

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Mr. All-Around: A Review of the Tom Gola Biography

Tim Reilly - November 28, 2018

In the waning days of his senior year at LaSalle University, David Grzybowski endeavored to answer a seemingly simple question: who was Tom Gola?

After five years of research, interviews, and writing sessions between his shifts as a television reporter, Grzybowksi delivered his answer in the form of a biography. The book, titled Mr. All-Around: The Life of Tom Gola, is available in bookstores now.

Mr. All-Around checks in at a little over 200 pages, but you won’t have trouble breezing through the contents in little more than a weekend. Grzybowksi’s writing style is plain and unpretentious. His text thankfully lacks the contrived alliterative phrases that pollute television copy.

The subject of the book proves to be a bit more enigmatic. When Grzybowski took on this project, Gola was in the winter of his life. A fall in 2003 had left the former basketball star physically impaired; Gola would spend the rest of his life recovering at St. Joseph’s Manor, an assisted living facility on Huntington Pike in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania. Gola passed away in January 2014 at the age of 81.

Grzybowksi acknowledges in his introduction that “a stroke made it difficult for Gola to speak” during his lone meeting with his subject. Nevertheless, the two were able to speak about Gola’s “playing career and his time at LaSalle,” Grzybowksi told me in an email exchange.

The seeds of this discussion form the basis of Mr. All-Around, which chronicles Gola’s journey from a basement gym in Olney to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Along the way, Grzybowski documents Gola’s time at LaSalle College High School and LaSalle College. He also details Gola’s decade-long NBA career with the Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knicks.

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Villanova to Play Penn in Jake Nevin Field House

Chris Jastrzembski - September 1, 2017

Villanova will play at least one game on campus this season. Except it won’t be at Finneran Pavilion.

The Wildcats announced this morning they’ll play Penn at Jake Nevin Field House on November 29. Originally known as the Villanova Field House, the Wildcats last played at the venue back in January, 1986 against Marist, before moving to the Pavilion.

Most of Nova’s games will be played at the Wells Fargo Center this year, as the Pavilion undergoes a huge $60 million renovation. That includes the addition of VIP box clubs, seating renovations, and what the school called a “recruiting room.”

The Field House currently is home for the women’s volleyball team and recently underwent its own renovation back in 2012.

The place seats 1,500 people in the upper level, which is about 5,000 less than what the Pavilion has (the reno is, frustratingly, not adding any seats). My guess is they’ll add some seats (in the Field House) to up the attendance.

Penn State did something like this two years ago when they played Canisius and UL-Monroe at Rec Hall, which was their home before the Bryce Jordan Center was built. It’s a great move by Nova to have at least one game at their old barn rather than make people commute down to the Wells Fargo Center for every home game.

It’s even better that it’s a Big 5 game, but I’m for having every Big 5 game at the Palestra. But that’ll probably never happen again.