Ending fifth week of preseason with three to go! Our open gym numbers were down a bit this week as Devon Thomas and Devin Gilligan were away on college visits, Danny Eiber is nursing a groin and Charlie Williams incurred a concussion. But this gave some other guys great court time. Dylan Moore has been shooting very well, Gus King picking up some wins, Moses Toriola had a good run yesterday but suffered a poster at the hands of Malik Abu---best dunk of the fall...
Pleased to get the pairings for the Scholar Roundball Classic at Babson Dec 8-9. We play Milton on Saturday and Tabor Sunday. Two talented, well-coached teams.
So happy for Devon committing to Missouri State---great opportunity for a natural leader. DT was born to play the point and lead a team. Great coaches and players in the Missouri Valley and Devon will fit right in. S/O to Cynthia Howe (advisor) and Sean Thompson (mentor) for always being there to support Devon.
We are ending our first week of live period workouts today. Very pleased with the effort and the overall format. Eleven kids are in strength and conditioning while three new students participate in another fall sport. We scrimmage during the week and college coaches have been in to observe. So far this week coaches from Iowa State, Quinnipiac, Long Island, Vermont, St Bonaventure and Hartford have visited. Richmond, Northeastern, Texas-Pan American, Cornell, and Utah State will be in next week.
Big adjustment for the kids---they are realizing summer is over as the homework piles up. Prep school is not for everyone...with study hall each night and Saturday classes. But the lessons are far-reaching, think about the rigor, discipline, time-management, etc. It is all good!
Special thanks to Sherwyn Cooper and Adam Finklestein for stopping by. Media matters and these two are among the best. We'll see Adam at the Elite 75 Saturday as Moses Toriola and Crew Ainge participate in the '15 Division.
KUA hoop tour a great success at 5-2, growth from each player. Good to see the guys heading in for school. '15 Moses Toriola is here and soon Aboudi and Bennett arrive from London. The returning students come in Thursday and school starts Friday---it's go time!
Our schedule is nearly complete, just making some tweaks. New Hampton, Brewster, Cushing, Tilton, etc. Toughest schedule in school history...Will also play in Hoop Mountain /Scholar Roundball and BABC events.
Recruiters---don't sleep on seniors Devin Gilligan and and Danny Eiber. Terrific basketball IQ's, toughness, "blenders", they will help you WIN.
Workouts will likely be Tuesday and Thursday at 5:00 for visitors...check back to confirm.
KUA sprints to a 20-0 lead and never looked back last night in posting 101 points. Devon Thomas set the tone with 7 points, 5 assists, and three steals in the opening quarter. Malik Abu had three dunks in the early going and solid defense throughout. Incoming Wildcats Aboudi Al Qattan and Bennett Grigull joined the squad and played well. Following the game the families hosted the squad for a fantastic cookout.
Following camp today the team heads to The Regal for a great test versus Midnit Madness Club. Noted coach Jackson Gibbons runs arguably the best grassroots organization in the UK and there will be some strong talent. Our guys are excited to play the first game in the new Nike-sponsored facility.
I really have to comment on the play of Malik. I didn't see him play from May to August. He has improved so much it is incredible. Now, I'm not saying he is Dr J or anything, but he has really started to figure it out-----and I'm sure Tyrone Boswell will agree.
As well Duby and Crew are coming back well from injuries...lots to bethankful for.
Tuesday / Aug 14
SATURDAY / JULY 28 / 2012
Cats defeat Uxbridge last night running out to a 49-20 halftime lead and coasting home. Will need to play much better today against the London Pioneers. Had an excellent camp session earlier in the day with 48 total campers. Have to mention the comeback Sat against Falkirk, down twenty with 9 minutes remaining. Crew Ainge and Malcolm Brent hit threes in the final 30 seconds to tie 81-all. Lost in OT but good lessons.
Great day Sunday in Edinburgh, love the architecture, food, and the energy of the city. Duby's sister Judy showed us around. Street festival going on, neat to see. Beautiful train ride on the East Coast train---the sea, the sheep, the views of ancient cities like Berwick Upon Tweed...
Sunny and 70 today in London---let's play ball!
Cats fall 110-101 to Falkirk Fury despite high- powered offense...
Malik Abu paced with 22 points and Duby Maduegbunam added 20 but KUA couldn't contain 6-10 pro Ronnie Gordon and 6-7 Maine Bearcat Ali Fraser in dropping the opening game. 200 fans at the Mariner Center saw KU close to within 103-101 with 40 seconds remaining.
THURSDAY / AUGUST 2 / 2012
KIMBALL UNION BASKETBALL TEAM HEADS TO UK
Eleven Kimball Union student-athletes will travel to the United Kingdom next month to participate in a cultural exchange and basketball competitions. KUA Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Mike Olson will be conducting two clinics abroad and has scheduled seven international basketball games against teams from Scotland and England. The team departs on August 8 and returns to the States on August 17. Participants include:
- Class of 2013: Devon Thomas, Danny Eiber, Devin Gilligan, Ethan Yang, Dylan Moore
- Class of 2014: Duby Maduegbunam, Malik Abu, Gus King, Adrian Callies, Malcolm Brent
- Class of 2015: Crew Ainge
Four Wildcats will assist with hosting the team. They are Jesse Chuku ’12, Jonny Bunyan ’11, Aboudi Al Qattan ’13 and Bennett Grigull ’14. The team will spend the opening weekend in Falkirk, Scotland participating in the Braveheart Classic. They will face three Scottish Club teams, including Bunyan’s Falkirk Fury. A visit to the Edinburgh Castle on Sunday highlights the weekend. Monday, August 13 finds KUA taking on Chuku’s London Pioneer Basketball Club. KUA will play the English Under 18 National Champs on Tuesday, the Westminster Warriors Wednesday and conclude the games with a Thursday tilt versus the Midnight-Madness Club. The game
will be the first played played at the new Nike facility called “The Regal”
. The week also includes participation in the London Pioneer Basketball Camp directed by Olson and Jeff Trumbauer, a former Dartmouth Assistant who is now the Assistant Head Coach at Augustana College.
Interested family and fans can follow the action on Coach Olson’s blog at www.kua.org/wildcatbasketball, and on Twitter at @kuahoops.
MORE SUMMER NOTES-----
The Grassroots summer evaluation period ends this weekend and it has been eventful for a number of our guys. Devon Thomas '13 and Malcolm Brent '14 have spearheaded Metro Boston to nine straight wins entering tournament play today in Orlando. Devon has picked up no less than 8 Division I offers as he continues to do his thing...really gifted player. Brent, a hometown friend of DT, will be enrolling at KUA as a junior next month. Great instincts. Of course, Abdul Malik Abu has torn it up. He's been featured in the New England Recruiting Report, Hoopdreamsmag, Rivals, NBC, etc. He is projecting into a top 50 prospect in '14. His summer coach Ty Boswell has worked wonders with Malik. Expressions has been a big winner this summer. Incoming '15 post Moses Toriola has recently joined the team and is getting his feet wet touring the East Coast. Devin Gilligan has been the best performer for Bishop Elite and they have had success in Springfield and Orlando.
We are looking forward to heading over to Scotland and England next month. Eleven Wildcats are on the journey and we will play seven games against premier UK competition. Duby Maduegbunam will finally make his summer debut following spring surgery and that is a true blessing for him and his family and the Wildcats! I've heard great things about all the work Adrian Callies, Gus King and Danny Eiber are putting in this summer too. Crew Ainge will finally play as well as he is recovered from a pesty Scaphoid injury.
Jesse Chuku '12 (Lehigh) started evry game for England U20 this summer. He averaged 6 points a game and lead the team in rebounding with 8 per game. Jesse played great and has highlights posted on Hoopfix.com. We will see a lot of Jesse in London I'm sure. We will also spend time with Jonny Bunyan '11 in Scotland and enjoy meeting the families of incoming students Aboudi Al Qattan '13 and Bennett Grigull '14.
Bill Gilbert, John Bunyan and Jackson Gibbons have worked very hard to make our trip a reality---what great friends of KUA Basketball...stay tuned.SUMMER NOTES----
Well, not exactly sure where the last 8 weeks went but happy summer anyway! It was great seeing our two seniors---Jesse Chuku and Rick Naylor---receive their degrees. Both were honored as well with leadership awards. Incredible impact on our program and they will be missed.
I just heard from Jesse and he has been named to the GB Under 20 team and he expects to have a "significant role". Also, Jonny Bunyan '11 has made the initial squad of 15 players. Twelve players will travel to Bulgaria next month to represent their country. WOW!
Devon Thomas just emailed that he will be taking an unofficial visit to UVA this weekend. Also on the trip will be incoming 6-4 combo guard Malcolm Brent. Devon has been hearing from Arizona State, Robert Morris, Fairfield, Vermont, Lehigh, and many others. He'll run the point for Mo Vasquez and Metro Boston during the July live period. Malcolm---will share the backcourt with Devon this summer--- will be a junior at KUA. He is from the Baltimore area as well. Both players have ties to the Beyond Belief program.
Devin Gilligan is hearing from Air Force and Fairfield. He stars for Bishop Elite in the summer. Rising juniors Duby Maduegbunam and Malik Abu are primed for July as they play for Ty Boswell and Expressions Elite. Duby is close to live action following spring knee surgery. Malik has several high offers and will work under many eyes in July. Danny Eiber, Long Island Lightning, will also attend Academic camps at Albright and Brandeis.
I am gearing up for my trip to Scotland and England. We'll run clinics/camp along the way. I invited my team and 11 guys took me up on it. Just putting the finishing touches on the schedule but we will play seven games in addition to attending the London Pioneer Basketball Camp.
It will be great to see and get to know bettter Aboudi al Qattan and Bennett Grigull, two new Wildcats. They starred for the American School in London for the past couple years and will be great additions to both the program and classroom.
CHECK BACK IN A COUPLE WEEKS AS I POST OUR UK TOUR SCHEDULE.MONDAY / APRIL 23 / 2012
Rick Naylor will attend Trinity College and play basketball for Head Coach James Cosgrove. Naylor chose Trinity over a host of fine schools and programs. He was considering Connecticut College, Babson, St Lawrence, and NYU. All did a great job recruiting Rick but in the end Cosgrove won out. Rick has been a mainstay in our program for the past three years. A two year starter and co-captain, Naylor averaged 12 points a game this year. He is a plus defender and a great worker. We valued Rick's work ethic and leadership within the program. Rick shot 51% from beyond the arc this year---really an incredible percentage. He will be a great addition to the Trinity program. Former Wildcat Cam Sutton is also at Trinity.MONDAY / MARCH 5 / 2012
STATS AND THOUGHTS---
A quick perusal of our individual statistics from the season attest to the balance of the team. Jesse Chuku lead the team in scoring with an average of 13.7 points per game. Devon Thomas averaged 12.1 points and Rick Naylor 12.5. Malik Abu chipped in 11 points and Devin Gilligan another 8.0 a game. Naylor, who missed one game with illness, scored 325 points while his back court mate Thomas scored 326. You can't get much better balance than that! Abu lead the team in field goal percentage making 58% of his attempts. Naylor canned 61 three point baskets (48%) in one of the premier shooting displays in New England.
St Marks ended their season 28-1 and a Class AA title. They defeated Tilton in the championship. Our twelve point loss to St Marks in the quarterfinals shows we were on the doorstep to competing for a title. Now to make that next step...
I still feel we were seeded too low---a 5 or 6 seed, while attracting a quality foe, does not pit you against the best team in the first round. Apparently there were some questions about our schedule strength. Well, our 21-6 final record includes these losses: St Marks (away, AA champions), Tilton (AA runner-up), Northfield Mount Hermon (away, AAA champion), Salisbury (neutral, A champion), Cushing (away, AA three seed), and Wilbraham (away, AA four seed). Other than these six opponents we were 21-0.
On to the off-season, got to get better.
WEDNESDAY/ FEBRUARY 29 / 2012
ST MARKS CLOSES OUT WILDCATS
KUA fell tonight to St Marks 72-62 in the quarterfinal round of the NEPSAC Class AA tournament. St Marks improves to 25-1 while KUA ends their season with an overall 21-6 record. The 2 and 7 seeds had all the makings of a potential upset. KUA had played 16 Class AA or AAA teams on the season while St Marks had played just eight. The tougher schedule figured to help the 'Cats but playing away seemed to be a larger obstacle. 7-0 Arizona signee Kaleb Tarczewski muscled his way to 23 points while Michigan recruit Stauskas worked the perimeter for 21. Devon Thomas lead the 'Cats with 16 points, Jesse Chuku and Malik Abu added 14 and 13 points respectively. Rick Naylor had nine, Devin Gilligan seven and Danny Eiber scored three.
KUA trailed by nine with3:00 remaining and forced consecutive turnovers to ignite fast breaks. However, KUA could not capitalize on either trip. It took St Marks thirteen seconds to cross half court on the next possession. No call. This would lead to my first and only technical foul on the year.
To beat Tarczewski and Co. we would have had to play efficiently and we didn't. We would have had to have some consistency in the officiating, which we did not have. And we would have needed to play with more toughness on the road. Great job by St Marks, they are a very talented and well-balanced team.
We didn't have much depth this season. We had one player leave school just prior to the holidays and we had a terrific player (Duby) injured six weeks ago. The starters played too many minutes down the stretch of the season. We will look to address that. These young men are great ambassadors for Kimball Union. Great group! Thanks for supporting the 'Cats!TUESDAY / FEBRUARY 28 / 2012
'CATS PREP FOR ST MARKS
Practice will be held today beginning at 1:30 as the Wildcats prepare for their NEPSAC Class AA Quarterfinal game versus St Marks. KUA puts their 21-5 mark on the line against St Marks, whose 24-1 record earned them the #2 seed. The winner advances to the semi-finals Friday. Wednesdays game tips off at 4:30.
We have geared our season toward this game and expect to play our best ball. Five road games in the last 11 days has prepared us for the challenge. We can go on the road and execute as we've shown. We'll need to be tough-minded and physical. We'll need to be efficient offensively. Though the task at hand appears very daunting, this is an opportunity we relish.CATS TO FACE ST MARKS WEDNESDAY
Kimball Union was awarded a #7 seed today in the upcoming NEPSAC AA Tournament and will travel south to face #2 St Marks (24-1) on Wednesday.
#1 Tilton versus #8 Vermont
#2 St Marks versus #7 KUA
#3 Cushing versus #6 St Andrews
#4 Wilbraham versus #5 Worcester
Top 4 seeds host with the winners advancing to play Friday. Go 'Cats!!SUNDAY / FEBRUARY 26 / 2012
'CATS WIN NORTHEAST PREP TOURNAMENT, AWAIT NEPSAC PAIRINGS
Kimball Union hung on for a three point win over a talented and hungry Class C Hyde (CT) School Saturday to capture the championship of the 2nd Annual NE Prep Tournament at Putnam Science Academy. Jesse Chuku was named tournament MVP and Devon Thomas and Malik Abu were named to the All-Tournament team. KUA lead 32-26 at the half but Hyde scored the first eight points of the second half to take the lead. KUA would have to rally from six back to win. Rick Naylor hit a three point basket, an Abu dunk and two nifty drives by Thomas keyed the rally.
Hyde had come back from a 29 point deficit versus PSA in the semi's and was poised for another big upset. It was not to be as KUA ends the regular season with a program-best 21-5 mark, including 12-3 in Class AA action.
Chuku's career high 32 points paced the 'Cats to victory against Christian Heritage Friday. Naylor added 18 as he continued his torrid late season pace.
The wins cap a busy final week for KUA as the team faced five opponents in an eight day span---all away games. Now, KUA awaits the announcement of the NEPSAC AA tournament pairings, which will be released this afternoon.FRIDAY / FEBRUARY 24 / 2012
NOTE: KUA'S GAME TODAY IS AT PUTNAM SCIENCE ACADEMY, PUTNAM, CT. TIP-OFF VERSUS CLASS AA OPPONENT CHRISTIAN HERITAGE IS SET FOR 5:00
CONSOLATION AND CHAMPIONSHIP ACTION IS SET FOR 3:30 AND 5:00 SATURDAY / 'CATS ARE HEALTHY AND READY TO GO (HOPEFULLY!)
WEDNESDAY / FEBRUARY 22 /2012
'CATS PUT IT ALL TOGETHER, RIP VERMONT
Leading from start to finish this afternoon KUA earns a big road win versus Class AA rival Vermont. Tremendous back-court play from Rick Naylor (25 points) and Devon Thomas (19 points and seven assists) set the tone. KUA jumps out to a 7-1 lead and holds VA to just 20 first half points (32-20, KUA). Naylor opened the second half with a three pointer to extend the lead to 35-20 and KUA maintained a 13-25 point lead throughout. This was our best passing game of the season as we continuously spotted the open cutter. Jesse Chuku had a great defensive game, Malik Abu was solid on both ends and Devin Gilligan displayed his versatility with suburb passing, defense and rebounding.
When Naylor and Thomas are playing like that we are a tough team to beat. Great bounce-back performance following Monday's disappointing effort versus Wilbraham. We talked about toughness, hustle and execution---and we got it.
KUA improves to 19-5 overall and 11-3 in AA action. Worcester Academy beat Cushing today so the seeds really are to close to call. We are still hopeful of a top 4 seed and a home playoff game. 'Cats are on the road to face Christian Heritage and Putnam Science (23-4) this weekend. Pairings will be announced Sunday.TUESDAY / FEBRUARY 21 / 2012
WILBRAHAM WINS BATTLE OF TOP AA TEAMS
Wilbraham and Monson took it to the 'Cats Monday night and secured a 72-60 victory. WM lead at the half 40-33. KUA scored the first basket of the second hald to pull within five but got no closer. Wilbrahams wing players proved more physical than KUA's and WM point guard Jaylen Brantley controlled the pace of the game. KUA was out-hustled on the glass and did not come up with enough loose balls. Malik Abu continued trending upward with a team high 17 points. Rick Naylor added 16 and Devon Thomas scored 12. 'Cats fall to 18-5 overall and 10-3 in NEPSAC AA action. Huge game at rival Vermont tomorrow, tip time is 4:30.
This loss likely doomed the 'Cats chances of a semi-final home game in the upcoming playoffs. Tilton and St Marks are unquestioned #1 and #2 seeds. Cushing has probably done enough for #3 (including a home two point OT win over the Wildcats). So that leaves WM, St Andrews, Worcester, KUA and Vermont jockeying in the final week for seeds. FOOTNOTE: I am not on the committee but this is my opinion...since it's my blog I get to have an opinion!
So, Saxons River, VT will be hopping tomorrow at 4:30. Hope to see you there.SATURDAY / FEBRUARY 18 / 2012
Eiber, Naylor Key Victory at Brimmer
KUA travelled to Chestnut Hill, MA today to face Brimmer and May in a NEPSAC Class AA tilt. In a closely contested battle, KUA prevails 53-45. B&M lead 22-20 at the half as KUA struggled to crack their zone defense. The Wildcats scored the first five points of the second half and lead the remainder of the way but not by more than the final eight point margin. Rick Naylor paced KUA with 22 points including six three's. Danny Eiber replaced Devin Gilligan early in the second half when Gilligan picked up his fourth foul. Eiber promptly nailed three trey's to keep KUA in the lead. Malik Abu added 12 points and some timely free throws. Brimmer's zone limited the effectiveness of Jesse Chuku, Devon Thomas, and Gilligan, but strong defense throughout keyed the win.
Naylor held Fordham-bound Jake Fay to just two field goals---and both of those were on out of bounds plays.
The going now gets interesting as the Wildcats travel to Wilbraham and Vermont Monday and Wednesday respectively. All three teams appear heading toward the Class AA playoffs but seeds are still to be determined. KUA improves to 18-4 overall and 10-2 in AA action. We dodged a big bullet today and need to regroup before getting on the bus to Wilbraham!THURSDAY / FEBRUARY 16 / 2012
WILDCATS ROLL TO HOME WIN ON SENIOR DAY
Dominating both ends of the floor KUA sprinted to a 80-42 victory over undermanned Proctor last night in NEPSAC Class AA action. Jesse Chuku paced all scorers with 20 points including four trey's. Devon Thomas added 15 points, Malik Abu 13, Rick Naylor chipped in 11 points and Devin Gilligan had 9. Chuku and Naylor played their final regular season home game at the 'Cat House and were honored prior to the game in a brief ceremony.
KUA held a 40-20 half-time lead and kept the pressure on. Cats record improves to 17-4 overall and 9-2 in league action. Big road game Saturday (3:00) at Brimmer in Chestnut Hill, MA.
I've said this before but the beauty of this team is that the pieces fit together so well that it allows the five starters to truly play as one. The balance has been a season long strength. Each of the starters averages between nine and fourteen points---so we can score at each position. We've been getting some solid bench minutes from Danny Eiber and Charlie Williams as well.
Great to see London Pioneer manager Bill Gilbert at the game. Bill was in the States on business and wanted to support former club member Jesse Chuku in his final home game.
Our goals in practice Thursday and Friday will be to improve defensively---we can score enough points to be successful but stopping people will become even more critical as possessions tighten up during the playoff push. Brimmer, Wilbraham and Vermont on the road in the next six days!! SATURDAY / FEBRUARY 11 /2012
'CATS CRUISE 84-52 OVER HEBRON
Kimball Union bounced back nicely this afternoon with a convincing win over Hebron. Sophomore Malik Abu scored a career high 27 points to lead the attack while Rick Naylor added 19. Jesse Chuku (12) and Devon Thomas (11) were also in double figures. Devin Gilligan chipped in 8 points. 'Cats improve to 16-4 overall and remain 8-2 in AA action. This was a tough bounce-back game following the loss to Tilton Wednesday. Emotionally, with a sparse crowd and Class B opponent, it appeared pretty tough for our guys to get energized. KUA switched to a 1-3-1 zone early in the second half and was able to get some deflections and break outs to blow the game open. Final home game of the season Wednesday versus rival Proctor. Need to keep winning as the 8 team playoff picture is coming into clearer focus...stay tuned!THURSDAY / FEBRUARY 9 / 2012
REFLECTIONS ON 67-55 LOSS
Wednesday's NEPSAC AA game with Tilton had all the ingredients for an upset: energized team, large home crowd, confidence stemming from a 15-3 record heading into the game. It was not to be however as Tilton controlled from start to finish to earn a 12 point victory. Jesse Chuku paced Wildcat scorers with 19 points, Devon Thomas had 12 and Rick Naylor added 11. Georges Niang was unstoppable, efficiently scoring 26 points. Nerlens Noel, the top unsigned player in the country, added 14 points but only made three field goals.
Jitters? KUA shoots 6-20 from the arc in thge first half and 9-33 overall from three. 'Cats connected on just 32% of their total field goals.
The Eraser Effect? Every time KUA did attack the rim Noel was their to block or alter the shot.
Physicality? Most impressive about Tilton is their sheer size. Dominique Bull, Niang and Noel are imposing...
With John Calipari, Billy Donovan and a throng of local fans watching, the Cat House was filled to capacity. Good for the program and school spirit.
We let a great opportunity slip by---we were out of sorts for most of the game. No help defense, no loose ball awareness, slightly rushed shots, etc.
We have work to do----15-4 overall and 8-2 now in AA play. Two more home games and then we finish with a week on the road. Still fighting for a playoff berth and potential top four seed to get a home game. WEDNESDAY'S NEPSAC AA GAME VERSUS TILTON TIPS OFF AT 2:30 [TILTON 20-3 VS. KUA 15-3]
SATURDAY / FEBRUARY 4 / 2012
WILDCATS RUN BY BRIMMER 79-57
KUA got their running and shooting game going today and blitzed Brimmer and May by a 79-57 score. Jesse Chuku was electric today, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Rick Naylor continued his torrid pace from outside knocking down four three point baskets enroute to 18 points. Devon Thomas was again all over the floor and chipped in 14 points. Devin Gilligan added 11 points to be the fourth Wildcat in double figures. Brimmer's Division I bound back court of Oliveria and Fay were terrific today. Oliveria scored 18 points in the first half while Fay canned three trifecta's before the break. KUA slowed the two guards down in the second half---limiting Oliveria to just two free throws. Fay ended with 17 points on five triples and two free throws.
Balance continues to be a main strength for the 'Cats. All five starters average between 9 and 13 points. Duby M was averaging 9.5 as well, but he will be shut down for the remainder of the year due to pain and swelling in his patellar tendon.
We were not as sharp defensively today as we would like but B & M played well and executed their offense effectively. Our depth could be tested down the stretch without Duby but Danny Eiber and Charlie Williams are contributing. 'Cats go to 15-3 overall and 8-1 in NEPSAC AA play. National power Tilton comes to the Cat House Wednesday in a 2:30 matinee. WEDNESDAY / FEBRUARY 1 / 2012
UPDATE: Wildcats Cruise to Win
KUA builds a 32-25 halftime lead and pours on the defense today for a 66-41 victory over Master's in NEPSAC Class AA basketball. Rick Naylor paced all scorers with a career high 24 points (including 6-7 from the arc) while Devon Thomas added 17 points and eight assists. 'Cats were hot from the outside as Danny Eiber hit two threes, Thomas two, Devin Gilligan two and Jesse Chuku one. TMS played 2-3 zone the entire game, daring KUA to dial from distance.
Good second half defense as 'Cats hold Master's to just 16 points. KUA improves to 14-3 overall and 7-1 in league action. Master's had won 8 of 9 coming in.
'Cats return to then court Saturday afternoon in another AA game, facing Brimmer.'
CATS HOST MASTER'S
KUA returns to the court today facing The Master's School in a makeup date---tip time is 5:30 for the NEPSAC AA game. Master's has been on a roll since the holidays, winning 7 of 8. This is the first of five consecutive home games for the Wildcats.
Jesse Chuku leads KUA scoring with 13.3 points per game. Devon Thomas adds 12 points a game followed by Malik Abu and Rick Naylor, who average 10 points each. Devin Gilligan chips in nine a game.
THURSDAY / JANUARY 26 / 2012
KUA CONTINUES HOT, DRUBS HOLDERNESS
Wildcats travelled to Holderness last night and came away with a 70-49 victory. KUA built upon a nine point half time lead with crisp ball movement and better defense in the second half. Malik Abu lead scoring with 19 points, Jesse Chuku added 15 with three trey's, Devon Thomas chipped in 11 points and eight assists while Devin Gilligan added 10 points. 'Cats improve to 13-3 overall and 6-1 in Class AA games. The team now looks forward to five consecutive home games beginning Wednesday, Feb 1 against Master's.
One of the keys to our success this year---thus far---is the fact that the team plays as one. There are no individual agendas of any kind, they try and play defense and they work hard at sharing the ball. Having a "glue guy" like Rick Naylor (third year in the program) is a big plus. Also, we have a gifted point guard (Devon) who excels at determining the pace.
Feel good about where we are as a program but lots of ball yet to be played before the eight playoff teams are announced.
Bye this weekend and then we prepare for Master's and Brimmer at home next Wed and Saturday respectively.WEDNESDAY / JANUARY 25 / 2012
'CATS TRAVEL TO HOLDERNESS FOR FINAL JANUARY GAME
Kimball Union takes on Holderness today at 4:30 in a Lakes Region Conference and NEPSAC AA game. Holderness is in a rebuilding mode and enters the game at 2-8. KUA is 12-3 overall and 5-1 in AA action. Following today's game the Wildcats will play five consecutive games at the 'Cat House. The Master's School game, snowed out last Saturday, is rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb 1 at 5:30.
KUA sophomore Duby Maduegbunam is getting an MRI on his sore knee right now. Hopefully there is no serious damage and he can rejoin practices soon. Depth becomes a factor without the explosive sophomore.
This is a difficult game since the first game was so lopsided. Our guys need to understand Holderness has a program with tradition and pride---and they will be ready for the rematch. We will need to be very sound, push the pace, defend without fouling. Malik Abu has found some foul trouble lately and he needs to learn from these mistakes and stay on the floor.
We have posted highlight videos from five games---and are nearing 6000 hits combined! The power of new media(!!) and the power of team defense :)
Go 'Cats!FRIDAY / JANUARY 20 / 2012
'CAT HOUSE ROCKS, KUA DEFEATS VERMONT 46-43
In a back-and-forth battle between two NEPSAC heavyweights, KUA prevails today 46-43. Jesse Chuku's slam at the buzzer set off a raucus celebration between the players and court-storming students. It was an exciting ending to a 32 minute battle.
Vermont lead 23-22 at half and scored the first eight points of the second half to carve a 31-22 lead with 12 minutes remaining. KUA was ice cold for most of the game but stayed close with physical defense. Chuku ended the game with five blocks and Malik Abu three. KUA held 6-10, 270 pound center Dom Woodson to just five points.
Chuku scored the'Cats final eight points and finished with 17 points to go along with 8 rebounds and the five blocks. He was also instrumental in helping break VA's full court 1-2-1-1 press.
Devon Thomas was solid, finishing with 13 points. Thomas' steal and full court drive sparked a 8-0 "Cat run with just under 6:00 remaining. Devin Gilligan finished with 7 points, Malik Abu scored six points and was a major factor on the glass down the stretch. Rick Naylor had a steady floor game and added five points. Charlie Williams, a 6-8 sophomore reserve, was forced into extended minutes when Abu picked up three quick fouls to open the game. CW played thirteen minutes and helped control Woodson with excellent interior defense.
KUA goes to 12-3 overall and 5-1 in Class AA. Vermont was a pre-season number 20 pick nationally in Sports Illistrated. They are very good defensively---and we are too! It was a great game and it was very pleasing to have such a lift from the capacity crowd.
"Cats continue their quest for a top AA post-season berth tomorrow at 4:30 in another league match-up----this time versus athletic Master's School.THURSDAY / JANUARY 19 / 2012
CATS POUND BERWICK, READY FOR VERMONT
KUA scored early and often in racing to a 78-54 victory over Berwick Academy Wednesday afternoon at the 'Cat House. 9 of the 11 suited players scored in the win paced by Malik Abu's career high 18 points. Danny Eiber hit 4 three's enroute to 12 points. Devin Gilligan chipped in 12 and a solid floor game, Devon Thomas and Jesse Chuku added 10 points each.
'Cats face powerful Vermont Academy Friday at 4:30 and Master's School Saturday at 4:30. Big weekend home stand as KUA seeks to continue their march to the NEPSAC AA playoffs next month.
The Berwick game was viewed as a tune-up for the weekend and did not disappoint. KUA surged to a 51-25 half time lead and the straters gave way to some youngsters early in the second half.
Contrasting styles this weekend: Vermont features two big, physical posts and a tremendous wing in McNeil. Master's has little bulk but a lot of speed.
KUA ups their record to 11-3 overall, 4-1 in AA. Let's pack the Den this weekend and keep it rolling!SATURDAY / JANUARY 14 / 2012
TOUGH OT LOSS TO CUSHING
'Cats travelled to Cushing today for a 3:30 matinee. CA built a 32-29 half-time lead but KUA opened the second half by scoring the first 10 points to corral a 39-32 lead. Foul trouble proved large as Cushing chipped away. A Kaleb Joseph three point basket against KUA's 3-2 zone tied the game 56-56 with 48 seconds remaining. KUA had two lomg range shots to win in regulation but came up empty. Cushing outscored the 'Cats 9-7 to secure the 65-63 victory.
Great game with two good Class AA teams duking it out. Joseph is terrific, sophomore point guard. He's reportedly been offered by Maryland among many others. Devin Thomas went toe-to-toe with him and sparked KUA throughout. Devin finished with 14 points and 8 assists. Jesse Chuku had an excellent game, finishing with 18 points, 5 rebounds and two blocks. Chuku's 20' shot from the right wing at the buzzer rimmed out.
Cushing goes to 9-2, 'Cats fall to 10-3. KUA hits the halfway mark on their season and has played 11 of 13 away from the cozy "Cat House. Good to be home three times this week. Wednesday versus Berwick, Friday against powerful Vermont Academy and Saturday versus AA opponent Master's School.
Played a bit to impatient today, couple of careless turnovers and a few missed free throws down the stretch (though 9-13 overall). The officiating also was a bit "inconsistent"----it's my blog and I can say that!WEDNESDAY/ JANUARY 11 /2012
'CATS CRUISE TO VICTORY OVER EXETER
A solid effort defensively lead KUA to a 65-43 victory over Exeter today. KUA lead wire to wire in earning their 10th victory on the season. 'Cats jumped out to a 30-21 halftime lead and scored the first eight points of the second half. Devon Thomas continually split the PEA defense and either finished himself or dished off to teammates. Thomas finished with 16 points and seven assists and controlled the tempo throughout. Devin Gilligan had his prep high of 18 points and was a key defender versus Exeter's long range game. Rick Naylor and Malik Abu also scored in double figures.
KUA goes to 10-2 overall and 4-0 in Class AA. Exeter entered play with a 6-1 overall record.
Wildcats go on the road again Saturday facing Cushing in a key game.
Our kids were very focused today---great hustle and leadership from the captains, Chuku, Thomas and Naylor. We have a chance to be special defensively, just need some more practice time. My job also is to extend the bench. Danny Eiber and Charlie Williams are ready to contribute and need minutes. Duby M rested a sore knee today, hopefully he'll be ready for Saturday's showdown at Cushing.
Note: Saturdays game was originally scheduled to be part of the BABC Classic---it has been switched to a home game for Cushing (I don't blame them!).
Keys: share the ball, be verbal defensively, physical on the glass, and take advantage of sprint opportunities. Big game for early in the season.SATURDAY / JANUARY 6 /2012
WILD RALLY LEADS TO WIN OVER MARIANAPOLIS
Double OT thriller ends 59-56...'Cats finished the regulation portion of the game with a 25-5 run over just seven minutes. Trailing 46-26 KUA found a way to turn the momentum around.
Balanced scoring was the rule again with Devon Thomas leading the way with 15 points and eight assists. Rick Naylor hit three triples on the way to 12 points. Malik Abu added 10 points and seven rebounds. Jesse Chuku and Devin Gilligan chipped in nine each. Chuku's basket gave KUA the lead at 2:00 of the second overtime.
We were flat the first half and Chuku spent most of it on the bench with three fouls. Marianapolis lead 31-21 at the half and scored the first six points of the second half to go up 37-21. A KUA time out did nothing to stem the tide as Marianapolis stretched the lead to 46-26 with under eight minutes remaining.
Thomas fueled the comeback with three steals, three assists and seven points in the final minutes.
Long, bouncy bus ride but worth it. 'Cats go to 9-2 overall and 4-0 in Class AA games. Exeter Weddnesday.THURSDAY / JANUARY 4 / 2012
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Was it The Who that had the song, "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends"? Well, either way, welcome back for the stretch run of Wildcat Hoops 2012!!
"Sluggish" would be the adjective to describe our first week back from break. Practices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have been average at best. Perhaps Thursday and Friday will be better...and with Marianapolis looming Saturday (at Marianapolis, 3:00 tip) we better show some improvement.
Glad to be 8-2 pre-break even though we gave one game away to Salisbury. Next three opponents---Marianapolis, Exeter and Cushing, all on the road, have a combined record of 21-1. Looks like a tremendous challenge lies ahead for the 'Cats. Jesse Chuku leads KUA in scoring with 14.2 points per game. Devon Thomas and Duby Maduegbunam chip in 11.0 and 10.6 respectively, Rick Naylor (9.6) and Malik Abu (9.1) are next with Devin Gilligan adding 7.2.
Abu leads in field goal percentage (62.5%). Chuku leads in three point baskets made (24). Naylor leads in free throw percentage (canning 16-17). Chuku, Naylor, Thomas and Maduegbunam have each had a 20+ point game---all of which proves we have a lot of offensive weapons, if only we would play defense and rebound :)
And so it goes...the 8 week fight for eight playoff berths in NEPSAC AA begins Saturday!SATURDAY / DECEMBER 17 / 2011
'Cats take 3rd place in the Bob Southall Holiday Classic defeating Berkshire Friday afternoon. Duby Maduegbunum paced KUA's attack with 21 points, including six trey's. Jesse Chuku and Devon Thomas also reached double figures with 13 and 12 points respectively. KUA goes to 8-2 on the season and now breaks until Jan 7.
This game was a challenge mentally and physically. We played Sunday at Babson College, Tuesday at Andover, Wednesday at Loomis against a very physical Salisbury, Thursday versus Pomfret and Friday in the third place game! Frankly, I asked our kids to do something they were incapable of doing, namely being ready to play with total focus and intensity five times in six days---all on the road.
And so it is that we break for two weeks---Jesse flies to London, Adrian to San Antonio, Danny goes home to LI, Devon to Maryland, etc. Boarding school kids have great advantages as well as tremendous challenges. No doubt all will enjoy the rest and family time!UPDATE: KUA Defeats Pomfret 87-47
Day two of the Bob Southall Holiday Tournament left the Wildcats happier with the result as KUA pounded an overmatched Pomfret squad this afternoon by a score of 87-47. 'Cats jumped out to a 31-8 lead and never looked back. KUA extended the lead to 50-22 at the half. All of the 12 players dressed saw action with Charlie Williams (8 points) and Gus King (6 points) scoring career highs.
Devon Thomas also produced a career high with 20 points. Rick Naylor and Duby Maduegbunum continued their fine play with 12 points each. 'Cats go to 7-2 on the year and face the Loomis-Gunnery winner for the consolation title Friday at 2:30. And then...it is Christmas break!!!
College coaches from Norwich, Trinity, Wesleyan, St Lawrence, Quinnipiac, Iowa State, and Stony Brook have watched the 'Cats this week thus far. 12 / 15 / 2011
FATIGUE, DINGBA COST 'CATS
Playing three games in four days proved too much for the Wildcats as KUA drops a heart-breaker 54-51 to Salisbury in the opening round of the Bob Southall Loomis Holiday Classic. KUA lead 51-50 and had possession with 50 seconds remaining. In the double bonus it was apparent KUA would milk the clock and hope to get fouled. However, KUA turned the ball over not once, but three times in the final minute. KUA had a chance to tie with a three point attempt at the buzzer but missed.
Jesse Chuku lead KUA scoring with 16 points followed by Duby Madguebunum chipped in 14 and Rick Naylor 10. Salisbury sharpshooter Hedley hit 23 while Sam Dingba contolled the glass finishing with 14 rebounds.
KUA would convert on just 4-19 field goal attempts in the second half. 17 turnovers also contibuted to the defeat. Foul trouble plagued the 'Cats as Malik Abu and Devon Thomas would spend large chunks of the game on the bench and eventually foul out. Disappointing loss in a marquee matchup....Salisbuty is considered by many to be the top Class A team in New England while KUA brought a six game win streak to the court.
'Cats face either Bershire or Pomfret at 5:00 Thursday in a bounce back game!Update: Rick Naylor Leads KUA to Win
KUA wins on the road today 73-61. Rick Naylor scored 22 points to lead all scorers. Jesse Chuku added 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. The seniors combined for seven three point field goals. Balance was key again as Malik Abu and Devin Gilligan chipped in nine each while Devon Thomas scored eight. Andover scored the first five points of the game but KUA would go on a 23-0 run over the next six minutes.
We were sloppy today---another mid-week day game! But we have one tomorrow also!! Need to play much better against Salisbury to have a good chance to win. Our kids have great chemistry and thus have a chance to be pretty special late in the year, especially on the defensive end.Tuesday / Dec 12 / 2011
Four Games in Four Days!
The time has come for one of the bigger mental and physical challenges of the season. We will play four games in successive days beginning with today's matinee at Andover (3:30 tip). We travel to Loomis-Chaffee tomorrow for the Bob Southall Tournament where we meet a strong Salisbury team at 6:00. Conditioning, depth, toughness...important ingredients to success---will be tested.
Happy with our Tabor game Sunday. We shared the ball extremely well as evidenced by our 31-51 performance from the floor. It was a plus game defensively as well though we had some growing pains, too many slow transitions, put-backs, fouls. But we got after it when it counted. Andover has a good scorer in Ryan Hartnung, a St. Anselm commit. 6-9 Thomas Palleschi gives them bulk inside. They beat us in our gym last year so we expect a good test.
'Cats go for win #6 today, hope to have some highlights up later today!Saturday /Dec 11 / 2011
Big win today with a 77-62 decision over Tabor. The game was played at Babson College. Duby M exploded for 17 points off the bench. Jesse Chuku added four three point baskets enroute to 16 points. He also had eight rebounds and four blocks. Devin Gilligan had 12 points and an excellent defensive effort. Devon Thomas contributed 10 points and controlled the pace. Thomas went 60 feet in .03 seconds for a layin at the half---38-32 KUA.
Tabor played well and we were forced to match their effort.
In a balanced attack KUA got 10 points from Malik Abu, who also shut out hightly touted 6-8 Jared Ruetter for the first half. Rick Naylor pitched in nine points and a good floor game.
College coaches from Harvard, BU, Lehigh, Delaware, Emerson, Babson, Norwich, and Trinity watched the game. A good, solid effort in preparation for four consecutive games next week.
Andover and Salisbury are next on the docket. 'Cats go to 5-1 overall.Update:
Cats jumped out to a 38-18 halftime lead today. Great focus, energy, ball movement and defense. A balanced attack was lead by Jesse Chuku with 20 points including four three point baskets. Devon Thomas was outstanding---with yet more highlight reel oops. Malik had 11, Duby nine and Devin Gilligan added 8 and nine rebounds.
We were able to empty the bench enroute to the 68-33 win. Good tune-up for Tabor Sunday at 3:30 at Babson College. 'Cats go to 4-1 overall.Friday / Dec 9 / 2011
HOLDERNESS TODAY IN LAKES REGION TILT
Looking to win our fourth game in a row 'Cats host Holderness today in a 5:00 tip-off. Holderness has a new team from a year ago having graduated all five starters. They have great size with a pair of 6-9 posts inside. Our interior defense will be tested. We also need to not be in love with the first shot opportunity that comes our way---Patience being a key attribute to successful offense.
Jesse Chuku leads KUA in scoring with 13 points per game. Devon Thomas and Malik Abu average 11.0, Rick Naylor adds 8.25 and Devin G adds 6.5 and Duby M another 6.1.
'Cats travel to Babson College to face Tabor Sunday at 3:30.Thursday / Dec 8 / 2011
LESS THAN STELLAR WIN
In yesterdays post I talked about the need to be ready to perform 26 times a year! Well, we failed that test Wednesday afternoon in a 59-41 victory over a young Proctor squad. We had some objectives: excellent warmup, "first five minutes", defensive intensity throughout the first half, establish running game, bench enthusiastic, etc. We failed each of them. Every player was flat and it showed with the score 6-6 after eight minutes....
We did play with more energy the second half (half-time score 24-13). Duby M and Devin G had some steals and offensive rebounds. Duby had a highlight reel oop dunk from Devin Thomas...but the highlights were few and far between.
Defensively we are not far away. Master's had 15 first half points, Deerfield just 20, and PA 13. We need to learn to sustain but the framework is in. Offense is another question and hopefully we can make some progress in practice today. School is delayed due to the power outage following the wet snow storm last night...
Devin Gilligan led Wed scoring with 14 points, Devon Thomas added 11 points and 10 assists, Rick Naylor and Jesse Chuku chipped in nine points each.
'Cats go to 3-1 and face Lakes Region rival Holderness at 5:00 Friday---see you at the 'Cat House!Wednesday / Dec 7 / 2011
OFF TO THE RACES!
Today begins a stretch of seven games in ten days...we travel to Proctor for a 3:30 Lakes Region game today, host Holderness Friday and go to Babson College to face Tabor Sunday, and thats just the warmup for a busier week next week.
We are going to open with Duby Maduegbunam at small forward today. He and Devin Gilligan will flip duties. Duby is pretty explosive offensively while Devin is a rugged defender. Still early in the season obviously so roles are being defined. We are going to face some terrific individual players in the next two weeks so our team defense will be tested.
Do your players understand the need to be who they are every day?
We ask our guys to be ready 26 times a year---not just when they feel like it or when they "perceive" it to be a big game.
Do your players seek and execute every sprint-opportunity? Some guys run the floor occasionally...
make certain your players sprint back on defense and run the floor hard on offense---it's a big part of the game.
Be verbal! Good teams and players are constantly talking. "A quiet gym is a loser's gym".
Off to Proctor, Go 'Cats!!Saturday / Dec 3 / 2011
BACK TO BACK WINS
Facing a determined, scrappy Deerfield squad provided a challenge for the 'Cats today but a focused team effort prevailed as KUA wins 67-52. KUA jumped out to a 6-0 lead---including an alley-oop from Devin Thomas to Jesse Chuku and a dunk by Malik Abu---'Cats opened a 38-20 half-time lead. Jesse had a stellar home debut with 16 points, Malik's first game at the Cat House was a good one as he dominated the paint enroute to 15 points. Rick Naylor chipped in 12 points in a solid overall effort. Devon Thomas added 7 points and controlled the pace, finishing with 8 assists. KUA lead by 25 points before emptying the bench. Wildcats improve to 2-1 after wins over Master's and Deerfield.
We are starting to defend and get more comfortable with our offensive sets. Good opportunity to improve with two practices next week before travelling to Proctor Wednesday. There is no substitution for repitition and communication---and we need to take advantage of the practice opportunities.
I've told Jesse, Rick and Devon that we will go as far as they take us. Rick has been in the program three years now. Devon played a lot for us a year ago and Jesse was in training camp and spring ball a year ago---though he missed the season due to his illness. But these three know me and know what is expected---plus they are talented. The exciting thing to watch will be the development of the other kids in the rotation. I'm very excited about Duby, Devin, Malik and Danny. I also see Charlie Williams improving. We will need to develop some depth!!
Go Packers and see you next week. Friday / Dec 2 / 2011
QUICK START LEADS TO FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON
KUA defeats Master's School tonight 67-43. "Cats jumped out to leads of 8-0, 12-3. 18-4 and, eventually 32-8 in the first half. A quick Master's spurt just before half trimmed the lead to 34-15 going into the break. Master's never got closer than 17 points in the second half. Jesse Chuku and Malik Abu paced KUA scoring with 17 points each while Devon Thomas chipped in 15 points and five assists. Chuku earned a double-double by adding 11 rebounds. Master's was small and fast compared to the size of NMH Wednesday. All in all a good win.
All thirteen players who dressed played with Gus King and Cooper Williams netting their first varsity points.
Back to the hardwood tomorrow for the home opener against Deerfield. Game time is set for 3:30---a switch from the original 3:00 tip time.
It would be great to play well in all phases to build some momentum for next weeks two Class AA games against Proctor and Holderness. Hope to see you at the Cat House!Wednesday /November 30 / 2011
'CATS CREAMED AT NMH, BUT SHOW PROMISE
KUA opened the 2011-12 season this afternoon traveling to Northfield Mount-Herman for a 3:00 matinee. Class AAA power NMH pulled away in the second half to win 81-51. A back and forth first half saw the Wildcats trailing just 38-34 after leading 34-33 with 1:00 remaining. NMH scored the last five points of the half and the first eight of the second half as they began to pull away. Size and depth was a factor as NMH rotated four 6-10 post players throughout the game. Duby M had a good debut for KUA with 16 points. Jesse Chuku added 13 points in his first action and junior guard Devon Thomas chipped in 11. Chuku and Thomas did their work in the first half scoring 22 of their 24 points. NMH fired in 15 three point baskets in a red hot shooting performance.
This is really what one might expect. NMH had played games and began practicing earlier than us. We had just 8 full squad practices under our belt. I was really pleased with our first half effort but equally disturbed by our second half play (outscored 43-17). I was very impressed with their squad---disciplined and well-coached. Great size and shooters.
We'll regroup, practice Thursday and head to beautiful Simsbury, CT Friday to face a fast Master's School. Monday / November 28 / 2011
READY OR NOT...
After a full week of tryouts and a week off for Thanksgiving vacation it is time to tip-off the 105th season of Wildcat Basketball! Following practices today and tomorrow we open at Northfield Mount-Herman Wednesday at 3:00. We follow up the opener with two weekend games: at Master's Friday and home against Deerfield Saturday. Overall we will play 10 games and have 8 practices in the next 19 days. This is a hectic, challenging schedule but one we will embrace.
Jesse Chuku, Rick Naylor and Devon Thomas will serve as tri-captains and they will be heavily relied upon for their abilities and leadership. They represent as good a trio of players as we have had. They must set the tone in practices and games. We have little experience beyond these three though newcomers Danny Eiber, Duby Maduegbunam, Abdul-Malik Abu and Devin Gilligan have played alot of ball around the country. How quickly we gel will be a big factor.
As is our nature we will work toward becoming a solid defensive team, we will value the ball, we will play hard. This formula works but it takes time to develop a team identity and define roles. Opening against a powerful opponent like NMH will likely give us a very real picture of our weaknesses! I expect a myriad of growing pains but that is part of the process. Let's throw the ball up three times this week and see where we stand Saturday night!
Go 'Cats!Friday / November 4 / 2011
NOT LONG NOW...
The ten week fall trimester and sports season seems to fly by quite fast and, as such, hoop season is just around the corner. Our guys have done a good job in the classroom, the weight room and the court---but everyone is getting antsy to begin practicing. We'll have light workouts around exams the week of Nov 14-19. Following a one week break for Thanksgiving we'll begin practicing in earnest for our opener against NMH on 11/30. In a schedule relatively unique to boarding schools we'll have 10 practices along with 10 games from 11/26-12/16! Yikes!! We'll certainly have our depth tested...
I always enjoy observing the collegiate exhibition season this time of year. High majors generally pay DII and DIII teams to come to their arena and get walloped. It's good for everyone---the big boys get to work out some kinks, the little guys get to play on a big stage and the administators benefit from ticket sales and guarantee's. Typically the high majors pay from 5k-20k for the right to clobber the visitors. How interesting I find it when the little guys rise up and defeat the power guys. This year alone Seattle Pacific has beaten Arizona and Northern State (SD) has defeated Butler. Last year Lemoyne beat Syracuse. This is fascinating---what does it really say? Inferior talent can occasionally rise up and beat more powerful opponents by playing the game within themselves. The formula usually is pretty simple: outwork them, play better together, care more, value the ball, take good shots, don't foul, block out, etc. In short, they don't beat themselves. Meanwhile, the McDonald's All-Americans are not respectful of their opponent, they want their shots, they are careless, etc. So, the game being 40 minutes, develops its own personality---and the longer the game is close the better chance the inferior opponent has to make a couple shots at the end and pull an upset. It doesn't matter that the bigger school might be the smaller school 99 times out of a hundred....these upsets occer at such a rate that they are not all together that surprising anymore. There are certainly lessons here!
Check out our schedule and get to some games!! We've got a great group of young men. Monday / October 17 / 2011
CHUKU COMMITS TO LEHIGH
Jesse Chuku has verbally committed to Lehigh University following his official visit this weekend. Check out these releases on Jesse's prospects on the British basketball community newsletter "Hoopfix.com
" and the New England Recruiting Report
. What great news! Jesse missed last season due to illness but came back strong to star for Metro Boston and Coach Mo last spring and summer on the AAU circuit. A 6-7 combination forward with great athleticism and solid perimeter skills, Jesse will be a great match for Lehigh's dribble-drive offense. Jesse has bloomed in the classroom while at KUA and much credit for his success must go to our fine faculty---they have inspired him to reach new heights.
Jesse cut his teeth in London playing for both the London Pioneers and Barking Abbey Academy. He was also a key contributor to the England Under 18 National team in 2010.
Chuku will join fellow senior Rick Naylor as captains this season for the 'Cats. These two guys, along with Devin Thomas '13, will provide excellent leadership for our young squad. No less than six sophomores figure to be on the 12 man varsity.
Four more weeks of preseason before we can begin practicing!Wednesday / September 21 / 2011
RECRUITERS FINDING WAY TO MERIDEN
It's been great to host college coaches from near and far this fall. University of Wisconsin Assistant Gary Close was here yesterday. Great to talk some hoops with him before the workout. Other visitors have come representing Vermont, American, Princeton, Elon, St Bonaventure, Boston University, and Lehigh. Coming soon will be Long Island Hartford and UNH....Hope to get Malik Abu and Rick Naylor back scrimmaging soon. Malik fractured a finger recently and Rick has a significant ankle sprain. Devin Gilligan is slowed as well with a nagging ankle. Our guys are lifting four days a week and scrimmaging three times. Seven more weeks before we begin practice. Seems like a long time but it goes fast!Tuesday / September 13 / 2011
BACK FROM DAKOTA!
Just got back from Spearfish, South Dakota. Certainly it was a great honor to be inducted into the Black Hills State University Hall of Fame. I used to follow the old adage that "I wouldn't want to be included into any club that would have me." But, no more. It was great to see old friends and connect with many former players. The greatest thrill for any coach is to see former players thriving years later. My BHSU guys are all outstanding family men and successful in their careers. That means so much to me.
Fast-forward to the present. Pleased to have such significant interest in our guys. Dozens of DI and DII coaches are making the trek to Meriden to check out our open gyms. Workouts are scheduled for Tuesdays (4:00), Wednesdays (3:00) and Thursdays (6:30).
Great to have Rick Naylor here for a third year in our program. I can lean on him for leadership and he gets it. Great worker, student and person.
My son Erik is back from Australia and will get some court time this week. He just committed to returning to The Community School, Sun Valley, Idaho, for his second year as Head Coach. He plans to return to Australia to play and coach in March.
Go 'Cats (and Packers).Thursday / August 24 / 2011
SUMMER IS OVER!
The summer has come and gone. New students are arriving and preparing for their orientation hikes in the White Mountains. I am working to readjust to EST after 15 days running camps in the UK. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to travel throughout the UK conducting camps with good friend Jeff Trumbauer, an assistant coach at Augustana College.
Camp I: Derby, England / Derby Trail Blazers Basketball Club under the direction of Jamie Maudsley and Matt Shaw.
Camp II: London, England / Midnight Madness under the direction of Jackson Gibbons
Camp III: London, England / London Pioneers Basketball Club under the direction of Bill Gilbert
Camp IV: Falkirk, Scotland / Falkirk Fury Basketball Club under the direction of John Bunyan
We coached about 100 kids total and got to spend time with some great people.
Jesse Chuku '12 was formerly involved with both MM and the Pioneers. Jesse came to camp and looked very good. He is sorting through about 15 DI offers at this time.
We are going to have a good team this year and will get excellent leadership from Jesse, Rick Naylor '12 and Devin Thomas '13. Monday / May 9 / 2011
SIVERAND SIGNS WITH NORTH CAROLINA A&T
Kimball Union Academy post-graduate Waylan Siverand has signed a national letter of intent to attend North Carolina A&T.
High-flying post-graduate guard Ryan Daye will return to his home state and play for Wingate University. Daye signed today, the first day of the spring signing period. Daye will join a strong Bull-Dog program lead by Brian Good. He received a full scholarship at the NCAA II school. Daye was a team captain, MVP, and honorable mention All-New England. He averaged 14 points a game for KUA. Daye graduated from The Elon School before pursuing a post graduate year at Kimball Union.
will attend St Joseph College of Maine and play for the DIII Monks. Brooks averaged 11 points a game and was named honorable mention All-New England and was awarded the Coaches award for his leadership and sportsmanship. Brooks is a graduate of Catholic Memorial High School, Dorcester, Mass.
Brooks and Daye join Brian Fabrizius, who will attend Princeton, as post graduate student-athletes at KUA who have made their college decision. CONGRATULATIONS!