Saturday, April 30, 2011

Potential New Knight: Brandon Belt G soph. 6-1

According the most recent PSAC Letters of Intent web page, junior college guard Brandon Belt has committed to attend Gannon. Belt just finished his freshman year at Baltimore City Community College, where the sharpshooter averaged 16.1 ppg for the 20-11 Panthers.

Here's the skinny on Belt:
* Belt started and played in all 31 games at BCCC, leading the team in three-pointers (73-187) and three-point percentage (39%). The 175-pounder shot 45% from the field overall and a stunningly low 56% from the free throw line (39-70).
* Here are his averages: 21.8 minutes, 16.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.9 turnovers, and 1.4 steals.
* If you check out the season stats for BCCC, look at Micah Fraction's numbers. The guy averaged 25 ppg in just 23 minutes of action per game. Can Gannon sign that kid, too?
* BCCC advanced to the NJCAA Region XX finals where they fell to Cecil College (MD), 82-78. For his efforts, Belt was named to the all-tournament team. (Note: Cecil is located in North East, MD. Who knew there's another city called "North East"? The college's nickname is the Seahawks, not Grape Pickers. Too bad for them.)
* Belt graduated from Arundel HS (MD), transferring there just prior to his senior season. He averaged 14.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists for the 18-4 Wildcats, earning second-team All-Anne Arundel County honors. If you're dying to know more about Anne Arundel the person, just click here. If three Gannon Hoops followers click on that link, we'll set an all-time record for site traffic to that web page.
* This article from the Baltimore Sun gives insight behind Belt's choice to attend BCCC, including that he chose the school over Gannon and Pace last year.
* In that same article, published in July 2010, Belt makes this comment which I'm sure he wishes he could take back now: “I didn’t want to go to Division II. After this year I think I can be a Division I player. That’s why I wanted to come to BCCC.”
* This MaxPreps page on Belt is basically worthless, but I'm trying to give you all the info I came across on him.
* Here's something worth clicking on: it's some video highlights of Belt's junior campaign at Southern HS. He's certainly not a stiff. He can both shoot it and slash to the bucket.

The PSAC Letters of Intent web page also says an Anthony Wilson from Lorton, VA signed with the Knights. But the only Anthony Wilson from that area I could find played football -- not basketball -- at Hayfield HS. If anyone can confirm or deny that the Knights hoops team signed an Anthony Wilson, I'd appreciate it. For now, I'll just assume that the PSAC made a typo and the kid should have been listed in the football section. Web sites make tpyos all the time! UPDATE: Moments after I posted this, a Gannon fan emailed me that Wilson is a 6-foot-3 juco transfer to Gannon from Frederick (MD) Community College, who lists him as T.J. Wilson on its basketball roster. I'll gather more details in the upcoming days.

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's Official: Agee Gone From Gannon

Kelvin Agee, a promising freshman who led Gannon in scoring this season, has been dismissed from the school. The rumor had been swirling for weeks and was confirmed in an email Gannon SID Dan Teliski sent to me today.

In the email, Teliski wrote, "Kelvin has been dismissed from the University due to violation of the school’s code of conduct policy. Unfortunately, I can't comment any further on Kelvin’s situation due to student-athlete's privacy issues, rules and regulations. But I can confirm Kelvin is no longer attending classes at Gannon."

What a shame. Scoring 358 points in 24 starts as a freshman, Agee was on pace to be among GU's all-time leading scorers and three-point shooters. He was named Most Outstanding Player of the Gary Miller Classic after leading the Knights to two wins that weekend. For the next three years, Agee and Stephen Battle would have been a formidable inside-outside combo that certainly would have led Gannon to many victories.

Instead, Agee -- if he's accepted by another college -- will be on his third school in three years, earning himself a less-than-stellar reputation. I don't know all the details behind his expulsion, but it's a real shame for everyone.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Knight: Adam Blazek G 5-11 fr.

Gannon has signed Adam Blazek, a crafty lefty guard from Cathedral Prep. On paper the signing appears to be ... wait a second. Gannon has had its share of lefthanded players, and the Knights can boast of several former Ramblers, but will Blazek be the first lefthanded Prep grad ever to suit up for the Knights? I'm not sure. UPDATED 4/22/11: I received an email from a Gannon expert that he believes Kevin Elwell was the first lefthanded Prep grad to play for Gannon.

But while we're talking about southpaws and Ramblers, let's talk about our favorite Gannon hoopsters who fit those categories:

Best lefthanded Golden Knights: Let's start with Kyle Goldcamp and Mike Crawford. If they played in the same era, Goldcamp and Crawford would have been a formidable inside-outside combo. John Bowen also deserves consideration, seeing that he scored 688 points for some excellent Gannon teams. And I'm almost embarrassed to ask this, but was Butch Warner lefthanded? He's a little ahead of my time to recall that detail, but I'm 51% sure he was a lefty. UPDATED 4/15/11: Warner was lefthanded, as confirmed by Gannon74. UPDATED 4/22/11: A Gannon expert reminded me that Billy Callahan was a lefty Golden Knight.

My favorite lefties: Gerald "Gee" Blanks, my former teammate, was full of energy and possessed springs in his legs. I also need to mention Gregg Blair, the big man who taught me the art of towel waving before he transferred to Behrend. UPDATED 4/19/11: bbfan68 says add the following to the lefty list: Craig Dixon (596 points), Bobby Baker (546), and Ron Johnson (1187). Great names -- thanks!

Honorary Gannon lefthander:
Mitch Smith was a natural righty, but occasionally he'd pull up on the right baseline, switch hands, the fire up a midrange jumper lefthanded. Growing up, I thought that was one of the baddest moves I'd ever seen.

Best Prep products to play for Gannon: That's a headscratcher. I zipped through the all-time GU roster, and I think the best former Rambler/Knight is either Cory Knight (462 points) or Todd Stablein (649 points).

My favorite Ramblers/Knights: Even though my dad taught at McDowell, I'm a fan of all the Prep grads who played at Gannon: Stablein, Knight, Stacey Hitt, Jim Toohey, John Trocki, and current Knight Steve Piotrowicz. I even like Andrew Sweny even if he quit the Gannon team after playing just 2 games and scoring just 1 point. (The more GU players below me on the all-time scoring list, the better it makes me look.) Am I missing anyone from this list? UPDATED 4/15/11: Thanks to Willow and Corey for the heads up that Preston Harris and Mark Demski should be on this list. I can't believe I forgot about Demiski. First, I saw him play a ton as a youngster for the Erie Red Storm and, second, he's one of those lunchpail players that I really admire. If Demski's dad punches me the next time he sees me, I'll accept it as appropriate punishment.

OK -- back to Blazek. Here's a collection of info on him, much of it from the Prep website:

* This highlight video is pretty impressive. Blazek has kind of an unorthodox yet athletic game.
* His senior season he was the Erie Times-News District 10 player of the year after leading Prep in points (14.7 ppg), rebounds (5.9), assists (4.7) steals (2.7) and blocked shots. The Ramblers finished the season 14-10, winning 11 of their final 15 games.
* He was named Erie Times Breakout Male Basketball Player of the Week after scoring 24 points vs. Strong Vincent and posting 18 points and 10 rebounds vs. McDowell. (Side note: Proactiv should sponsor the Breakout Player award, don't you think?)
* Here's a quote from Blazek in the Prep press release: “It feels good to stay at home and be in a great situation athletically, academically and financially. To have all the hard work pay off from the offseason is a great feeling. I grew up watching Gannon play basketball and I can’t wait to continue my career in front of the great fans in Erie.”
* Prep coach Mark Majewski is one of the nicest guys I've met on the local hoops scene. His final sentence in this quote has me fired up: “I believe Gannon is a great fit for Adam’s talents and abilities. Adam is a well-rounded player who can do it all: score, rebound, pass and defend. On top of his skills, he is one of the hardest working players I have had the opportunity to coach.”
* According to this MaxPreps website, Prep finished the season ranked 47th in the state and 1,434th in the country. I actually thought they were in the top 1,400 but I'm not going to gripe about it out loud.
* This link takes you to a couple photos of Blazek.
* This is a photo of Blazek and Villa's Lisa Mifsud after they were named D-10 players of the year.
* I bet John Reilly loves this photo -- Blazek playing intense man-to-man defense.
* According to his Facebook page, Blazek is a fan of Manny Ramirez. I can picture Blazek making a lazy, boneheaded play to cost Gannon a PSAC playoff game and Reilly quipping at the postgame press conference, "That's just Adam being Adam."
* The Blazeks are an athletic family. Keith plays baseball at Baldwin-Wallace while Mark plays basketball at Division III Hartwick, where he averaged 14 ppg last year. I saw Mark play a lot for the Erie Red Storm all-star team when he was in grade school, and man was he a hard guard.
* Adam was born in July 1992, three months after I graduated from Gannon. I am officially decrepit.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Where's Herb? In The Basketball Hall Of Fame

Back in the 1980s, there were two guys named Herb that Erieites were very familiar with. Thank goodness this Herb had more staying power than this annoying Herb. I have no idea what Burger King's Herb is doing today, but I know where Herb Magee is. He's at the Final Four in Houston celebrating his induction into basketball's Hall of Fame.

There are a tons of articles online about Magee that you might find interesting:
* Philadelphia Inquirer
* Lehigh Valley Express-Times
* Comcast SportsNet Philly (with an incredibly awkward photo of Magee)
* Herb's Wikipedia page
* Did you know the Hammermill Center has its own Wikipedia page? Magee is mentioned there, too.
* The Audi has its own Facebook page, too. I bet Milt Simon never saw that coming.