Monday, July 16, 2012

Offseason Report - SHU Releases OOC Schedule and Other News

It's been a while since my last post, because frankly there hasn't been any worthwhile Sacred Heart news to report on.  Recently though, Sacred Heart released their final out-of-conference schedule - the first NEC school to do so - in full detail and complete with dates.  The schedule looks like this:

Saturday, Nov 10th - Yale (CT6 Classic in Hartford)
Monday, Nov 12th - at Rutgers
Friday, Nov 16th - at Hartford
Sunday, Nov 18th - at Stony Brook
Sunday, Nov 25th - Lehigh
Thursday, Nov 29th - at Brown
Wednesday, Dec 5th - Holy Cross
Sunday, Dec 9th - at Lafayette
Tuesday, Dec 18th - Stony Brook
Saturday, Dec 22nd - at La Salle
Sunday, Dec 30th - at George Washington

Overall, it isn't a bad out-of-conference tilt.  Breaking it down, here are the highlights:

- SHU has 3 "paycheck" games on the schedule with Rutgers, La Salle, and George Washington.  Before pulling the trigger on George Washington, SHU tried to work out a match-up with Maryland, but it fell through.  In a typical season, SHU has at least 2 of these paycheck games, where the team of the bigger conference pays SHU to come to their house for a game.  This money helps fund the program, and it's definitely necessary for most NEC schools, sans Quinnipiac, who spends money like a drunken sailor.

- Sacred Heart nearly scheduled a home match-up with Manhattan, but the two schools couldn't work out a specific date.  As a result, Sacred Heart settled with a home-and-home versus Stony Brook.  Stony Brook had difficultly filling out their schedule (I guess no mid-major wants to play one of the best American East teams, have you heard this story before?), so they agreed with the Pioneers to play a home-and-home.  SHU desperately needed a third game at the Pitt, therefore everyone is happy.

- With all due respect to Stony Brook and Holy Cross, the most intriguing home game on SHU's schedule is Lehigh.  The 2011-12 Patriot League tournament champion stunned the #2 seeded Duke Blue Devils in the 2nd round of the NCAA last year, and they return their top 5 scorers from last season, including C.J. McCollum.  McCollum, a 6-foot-3 guard, averaged nearly 22 points per game as a junior and heads into his final season with a lot of hype.  It will be a fascinating match-up between McCollum and Shane Gibson, two of the very best mid-major guards in the country.  Don't let Jon Rothstein tell you otherwise.

Other Sacred Heart news and notes include:

- After several nights of crying myself to sleep with this Youtube clip playing on repeat, I've finally moved on from Drew Shubik's departure from Sacred Heart.  As reported by Bill Paxton, Shubik has left to coach at Christian Heritage School and will be officially replaced by Kevin Papacs, who was a former assistant at CCSU and spend last season at Division III Wesleyan. 

- Add SHU to the long list of offers for 5-foot-11 PG Devon Thomas.  Thomas, who plays at Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, is a crafty and agile left-handed guard who's excellent at making plays with the ball.  He's quite the low mid-major prospect, so much so, that 4 other NEC schools (Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, LIU, and Bryant) have also reportedly offered.  Acquiring Thomas for the 2013 class seems to be a long-shot from SHU's end, but at least an offer is on the table.  SHU has a very good history of developing guards (see Shane Gibson, Drew Shubik, Jerrell Thompson, and Jerrid Frye for examples), so at least they have that going for them.  He would be a terrific fit to the 2013-14 roster, especially since Shane Gibson will be gone and Chris Evans, Louis Montes, and Evan Kelley will all be seniors.

- Finally, all signs lead to 6-foot-11 freshman Cole Walton being red-shirted for the 2012-13 season.  This doesn't come as a surprise, especially with the frontcourt depth SHU suddenly has.  Finding another red-shirt candidate, however, may prove to be difficult, since a majority of the players on the roster already used theirs up.  A decision probably won't be made until right before the season begins, when the coaching staff has the chance to fully evaluate the players in fall practice.  SHU is using all 13 scholarships for the 2012-13 season.

Until next time...

Ryan Peters covers Sacred Heart University men's basketball and the Northeast Conference on Pioneer Pride and Big Apple Buckets.  You can follow Ryan on Twitter @pioneer_pride