ESPNU to Broadcast Sunday's Nova vs. Denver LAX NCAA Tourney Game From the Mile High City ... Villanova.com reports that ‘Nova’s No. 9 ranked lacrosse team begins their 2011 postseason run on Sunday when they travel to Denver to face the No. 6 ranked Denver Pioneers in the first round of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament. Game time is scheduled for 5:15 ET and will be broadcast live on ESPNU. This will be the first time an NCAA tournament game in lacrosse has been played west of the Mississippi. The teams have faced one another seven times, with the series tied at 3-3 all-time. If you are interested in learning more about this team, check out this outstanding video showing the team’s reaction while watching the Selection Sunday broadcast and interviews with players and the coach.
Szczur To Graduate ... MLB.com reports that Matt Szczur took a leave from the Peoria Chiefs (Cubs single-A) so he can receive his diploma in person at Villanova’s Commencement festivities this weekend. Somehow, Matt managed to complete his coursework on time while playing full-time for the Chiefs. However, all his studying apparently did not hurt his performance on the field. He is hitting .320 with 33 hits, seven RBIs and a team high 10 stolen bases in 25 games.
Loyden Joins US World Cup Soccer Team ... Villanova. com reports that "former Villanova women's soccer star Jillian Loyden is one of 21 players that have been named to the United States team for the Women's World Cup in Germany this summer. Loyden, a goalkeeper, is one of 12 players on the U.S. roster making their World Cup debut. Loyden is the only Villanova player to be named a first-team All-American."
Nova At Top of '12 Recruiting Charts ... Brian of VUHoops.com reported that CBS Sports/MaxPreps.com currently rates Villanova’s 2012 recruiting haul of Ryan Arcidiacono, Savon Goodman and Daniel Ochefu as #1 in the country. Maxprep writes, "all three are ranked among the Top 40 rising seniors in the country and No. 10 overall prospect Amile Jefferson is squarely in the Wildcats' sights."
2011-12 VU Hoops Outlook ... ESPN’s Dick Vitale offers some cause for optimism for VU hoops fans next year. He writes, "Villanova had such a phenomenal run. They had a great start, but then struggled at the end of the year. A lot of it gets down to chemistry and confidence. They'll be right up there challenging in the Big East. They have great guard play returning and some great recruits." However, Vitale is less certain about what Villanova will have to do to avoid another late season collapse and return to the Final Four. "If I had the answer to that, I'd be a genius and I'm not a genius. You lose some confidence. You lose some heart breakers and it multiplies. Some guys start complaining about playing time. It's just something that happens. They have talent and good coaching. We'll see them bounce back." ESPN Bracketologist, Joe Lunardi, has Nova squeaking into the NCAA tournament as a 12 seed next year, one of 10 Big East teams. In explaining his view of ‘Nova as a bubble team next year, Lundardi writes, "They were pretty dreadful at the end of last season. And that was with an experienced senior class." Lenn Robbins of the New York Post writes, "Villanova is going to be tougher, if not better."
First Piece of the Puzzle in Place ... Brian of VUHoops reported that "Navy Head Coach Billy Lange has decided to return to Jay Wright’s staff in the role of Associate Head Coach." In explaining the move, ESPN writes, "[For] Lange, Villanova is unique. ‘I've had opportunities over the years to pursue jobs elsewhere and never did. But this was one, when you think about who you are and what you want to do, you have to do it. For me, Villanova is a place that is very dear to my heart. The role and the opportunity that Jay presented to me was just very right for me at the right time." Lange will not be a "coach in waiting" per se but certainly with his strong ties to the university and head coaching experience this move would put him on Villanova's short list should Wright ever leave." Jay Wright’s comments suggest more changes to the coaching staff are on the way. "Billy’s return is a significant step in this process," stated Wright, "but we expect to have more to announce soon."
'Nova's New Big Man Coach?? In the event that Jay’s next change to his coaching staff involves the addition of a big man coach, Malik Allen may be available. The Orlando Sentinel writes, ‘the Magic signed Allen for the 2010-11 season to be a positive influence in the locker room and a dependable practice body, and Allen filled those roles this year when he was healthy. Allen provided wisdom when one of the younger Magic players asked him for advice. However, Allen was largely ineffective during his rare time on the floor this year. Allen's one-year contract expires this summer, and it's unlikely the Magic will bring him back next season." We reported on April 23 that Malik hopes to coach when his playing career ends.
Not Doing Badly for a College Dropout ... Kyle Lowry, now 25 years old, had a great season with the Houston Rockets this year, averaging 13.5 PPG, 6.7 APG and 4.1 PPG. BleacherReport writes, "Lowry began to come into his own this season, thus making him the Houston Rockets' best contract. Lowry will earn close to $6 million per season each of the next three years, which is a good price for a player that plays with such passion and energy.
Randy's Struggles Continue ... Randy Foye, who turns 28 in September, had another disappointing, injury-filled season with the Clippers, averaging 9.8 PPG, 2.7 APG and 1.6 PPG as a reserve player. Clipsnation.com writes, "Foye has one year left on a contract that is due to pay him $4.25 million next season. After missing 43 games in his second year in the league, he sat out 12 games in each of the next two seasons before being sidelined for 19 contests in 2010-2011. If Foye disappoints next year, the Clippers would have little incentive to bring back an injury-prone guard with no defined position. His jump shooting is probably his strongest attribute, which really isn't saying much. As long as Foye keeps jacking up contested 22-footers, he's a wildly inefficient scorer who has a lot of impressing to do next season."
As Long As It Wasn't Jay ... Reports last week on ESPN 980 Radio in Washington, D.C. predicting that former Arizona and Xavier coach, Sean Miller, would become Maryland next head coach proved to be off the mark. Texas A&M coach, Mark Turgeon has taken the reins, replacing Gary Williams. ESPN writes, "working at a school with a great basketball tradition was highly appealing to Turgeon, who had spurned several opportunities to move during his four years at Texas A&M." At the end of the day, we really don't care whether Miller or Turgeon took the job, as long as it wasn't Jay Wright!
Lavin Fights Cancer ... ESPN reports that St. John’s men's basketball coach "Steve Lavin is still weighing his options on what course of treatment he will pursue for his prostate cancer. Lavin, 46, announced in early April that he was diagnosed with the disease last fall, prior to the start of his first season at St. John's, but the cancer was detected early and he decided to delay treatment until after the season."
Any Year Now ... Mike Kern of PhillyNews.com reports that "the Villanova moving-up-to-the Big East for football situation, which was supposed to be resolved a month ago, remains officially on hold. No one seems to know exactly what's going to happen next, although well-placed sources on both sides seem to agree that nothing is likely to be resolved before June 1. That would mean the earliest the Wildcats could play football in the conference they call home for just about everything else would be 2015 instead of 2014, given the NCAA's mandatory 2-year transitional period for going up a division to I-A (or Football Bowl Subdivision)."