Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Knight: Darrell Blanton F jr. 6-3

This should be the 9th and final installment of "New Knights" and "GU Recruits" for the 2010-11 season. When I sat down at my computer to research Darrell Blanton, I honestly thought I'd find some ho-hum stuff on just another guy. Here's Blanton in a nutshell: high-scoring Division I signee, juco All-American, and all-state high schooler who drew comparisons to NBA stars. Pretty decent first impression, huh?

Below is some more info on Blanton. Let's hope everyone sticks around so next off-season we only need to talk about the replacements for seniors Danard Crouch, Travis Brannen, and Kareem Brown.

* A May 30, 2010 story from the Akron Beacon-Journal stated: " is reporting that Darrell Blanton, a Chicago junior college player originally from Euclid, has signed a letter of intent to play at Akron. A team source tells me that Blanton, a 6-foot-3 forward, will likely be a walk-on in 2010 if his grades are sufficient." I'm not sure if Blanton didn't make the grade at Akron or if a Gannon scholarship offer was better than walking on for the Zips.

* Blanton played his sophomore season at Kennedy-King (IL) College in Chicago. If you know Kennedy-King's nickname, I'll buy you a bag of popcorn at Gannon's home opener. If you know Blanton's stats at Kennedy-King, I'll buy you a drink as well. K-K has very little information on their website but they are the proud owners of one of the lamest schedule pages in all of college basketball.
* Blanton was an honorable mention NJCAA Division I All-American at Kennedy-King.
* He was named Player of the Week for his region after two games with cumulative stats of 52 points (64.7 percent from field), 17 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks.

* As a freshman, Blanton played at Fort Scott (KS) Community College, where he averaged 17.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.2 steals, and 1 block per game. He shot 55% from the field and 64% from the foul line.
* At FSCC, Blanton was named to the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference honorable mention team. If you're thinking you've heard of that conference before, it's where GU recruits Anthony Clagett and Dennis Rumph played last year.

* At Euclid High School, Blanton received several honors including Division I All-Ohio 3rd team All-State by Ohio Prep Stars and Honorable Mention All-State by the Associated Press. He was also accorded Northeast Lakes All-District 1st team accolades after averaging 19.1 ppg in 2007-08.
* Blanton was the #40 senior in Ohio in 2008 as rated by Hoop Scoop Online. Everybody from #52 and up was either going Division I or uncommitted to a college.
* The info related to Blanton's high school days that really jumped out to me were the statements made by his former assistant coach at Euclid when talking about a current EHS player. Tedd Kwasniak, who won back-to-back state championships as the head coach at Villa Angela-St. Joseph in 1994 and 1995, is an assistant at Euclid. Talking about Demetrius Treadwell, Kwasniak "brought up names such as former NBA player Ruben Patterson, current New Orleans Hornet forward James Posey, former VASJ standout Jerome Davis, former St. Joe's and Ohio State standout Treg Lee, and former All-Ohioan Darrell Blanton - a Euclid grad."

* I couldn't find a photo online of Blanton, so I'll pretend that this is him. Man can that kid get up!

So that's all the new Knights. We've pretty much exhausted every detail of the entire Gannon roster and we talked about a guy who was never on the roster. What do we do for the next two months until the Gary Miller Classic? Research Cedarville, I guess.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New Knight: Alvin Tucker G jr. 6-3

All of Gannon's new players will have to make adjustments this season, but Alvin Tucker may have it the worst. The last two seasons he's been at sunny Florida Tech in Melbourne, Fla., where he averaged 8.6 points and 5.6 rebounds (2nd best on the team). Tucker played in all 27 Panther games last year, starting 3, shooting 46% from the field including 22-of-58 (38%) from three-point range. He shot 80% from the free throw line and registered 32 steals, both second best on the team.

Tucker, who hails from Upper Marlboro, Md. -- where John Reilly has a slew of connections from when he grew up there -- played scholastically at Georgetown Prep. He averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals as a senior for the Little Hoyas. (Side note #1: I don't know what a "Hoya" is, so I'm really confused about what a "Little Hoya" could be.) Tucker shot the ball well, hitting 78% on free throws and 48% on threes. He led Georgetown with 32 three-pointers in 25 games.

That data above is from the press release on his signing with Florida Tech two years ago. Here's some other info from that release you may find interesting:
* "Tucker was voted the number one most underrated player in the Interstate Athletic Conference. After suffering an injury his junior year, he started the 2007-08 in the shadows of two other players receiving Division I offers. Tucker, however, made an immediate impact on his team, posting double figures in nine of the team’s first 10 games. He eventually led the Little Hoyas to an IAC Tournament Championship and earned all-conference honors for his efforts on the court. He was additionally named to the Good Counsel Tip-Off Classic All-Tournament Team after leading his team to the championship game."
* Georgetown Prep coach Dwayne Bryant (Side note #2: Yes, he played at Georgetown in the late 80s.): "Alvin is a terrific kid who I think could be an instant contributor to Florida Tech as a freshman. Florida Tech is getting an excellent basketball player and an even better person."
* Tucker: "My dream is to use my athletic and intellectual talents to further my education and become a first generation college graduate in my family."

Here are a few more tidbits on Tucker:
* This article from the Washington Post talks about a big Little Hoya win and includes quotes from Tucker. (Side note #3: How cool would it be as a high school kid to wear those Georgetown uniforms?)
* I'm guessing this photo of Tucker won't be in the Gannon media guide.

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Final side note: Why does the guy in this video remind me of Mercyhurst coach Gary Manchel? Take 5 minutes today to watch this video. You'll thank yourself (and maybe me) after you do. I'd like to find out where this guy got his Master's in Communications.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Knight: Clinton Springer-Williams 6-4 F soph.

I remember when Mercyhurst scrimmaged a Canadian college basketball team several years ago and someone in the stands quipped: "Do you know who Canadian basketball players are? The kids who got cut from the hockey team." I hope that's not the case for Clinton Springer-Williams, a Canadian native and transfer to Gannon from Brock University (St. Catherines, ONT).

I'm not sure how many Canadians have played hoops for Gannon. The only one I can recall is Kwame Manu, and his athletic resume won't get him into the GU sports Hall of Fame anytime soon. But I have to say that looking at the accomplishments of Springer-Williams has me excited.

As a freshman at Brock, he was named Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Rookie of the Year. Basically, that's equivalent to being named NCAA Freshman of the Year for Canada. His stats are eye-popping for a first-year player. He averaged 21.2 ppg -- best among CIS rookies and 6th among all CIS players -- while shooting 46% from the field. In his conference (the Ontario University Athletics Conference), he ranked in the top 10 in three other offensive categories -- 5th in field goals made (143), 4th in free throws made (121), and 8th in free throw percentage (82.3). He also reached double figures in 30-of-31 games, including 13 with 20 points or more, six with 30 or more and a season-high 40 in Brock's season finale. Springer-Williams also averaged 6.2 rebounds per game.

If those numbers don't get your attention, maybe the comments for his former head coach will. Brock's Ken Murray, who resigned after the 2009-2010 season, his 20th for the Badgers, has said plenty about Springer-Williams:
* Soon after Springer-Williams signed with Brock: "We stole the (Springer-Williams) kid. He had some big American schools after him. He's probably going to be the most exciting player we've had in our lineup in a long, long, time."
* "[Clinton] is the one guy that will always give that extra effort. He's playing until the final buzzer. He's just a great offensive talent. He's very difficult to stop. The only one who stops Clinton is himself."
* "Clinton had one of the best seasons I have seen by a rookie in my 30-plus years of coaching. He has clearly shown people across the country his pure athleticism and scoring ability."

According to The CIS Blog, Springer-Williams "was a HoopStars Canada top 50 player, had a tryout for Canada's junior national team, drew NCAA D-1 interest from the likes of Davidson, which had its Cinderella run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament in 2008 — not unlike Brock did in the Final 8, eh." I know that last statement about Brock in the Final 8 means nothing to all of us, but I couldn't edit out the "eh" part. It proves the quote is from a legit Canadian website.

At Regina Mundi Catholic HS, Springer-Williams averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists per game and was twice the team MVP. The Brock U website also claims that when Springer-Williams signed with them, he "just recently turned downed numerous Division 1 scholarship offers including one from Davidson College."

Now if after all this you're still scoffing about Canadian basketball, maybe this info will win you over: In an exhibition game just prior to last season -- one of his first in a college uniform -- Springer-Williams scored 30 points in a 4-point loss to the University of Findlay. Yes, that Findlay.

Here are additional links on Springer-Williams:
* Here's a feature story from The Brock Press.
* This is an article from the Welland Tribune about Springer-Williams' transfer to Gannon.
* This video is from a high school dunk contest. The crowd kind of overreacts, don't you think?
* Here's a photo of him winning the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Rookie of the Year award.
* That last photo was kind of boring. Here are a couple action photos: driving to his left and flipping up a shot during a Brock game.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rumor & Roster

I'll dig in and get more details on these topics in the near future, but in the meantime here are some Gannon Hoops tidbits I thought you'd find interesting:

* This isn't on the Gannon website, but I've been told that on Nov. 4 Gannon will have an exhibition game vs. Division I Canisius. That's cool, but here's the kicker: the game will be played at the Hammermill Center. A DI going on the road to a DII? Win or lose, that would be a tremendous way to tip-off the season.

* I've heard that highly touted recruit Kyle Servance was injured in the off season and won't play for the Knights this year. He's not even enrolled at Gannon but could still attend GU next year. Too bad -- for the kid and for us. Servance ranked in the NJCAA top 10 in both assists and three-point percentage last year. I'm thinking that leaves the point guard battle to Steve Piotrowicz and Anthony Clagett.

* The 2010-11 Gannon roster is now online with no more changes planned. (Insert sarcastic, cynical comment here). Three names we haven't heard much about are listed: Mercyhurst Prep grad John Eisenman, sophomore transfer Clinton Springer-Williams, and junior transfer Alvin Tucker. Again, I'll dig up some more details on these guys, but in the meantime enjoy this story on Springer-Williams courtesy of Gannon Hoops follower JRD.