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Ummm....do we plan on announcing hoop recruits?

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Funny we haven't been real impressed with Covington's numbers but he averaged a double-double against what I suspect is pretty good competetion in Chicago. One of his hometown papers had a story about him attending a basketball camp last summer. The camp was a basketball camp but also meant to teach life skills. Covington Camp. 6'7, 235 with good post skills, great student sounds like an ideal recruit.



     Albany, N.Y. -- University at Albany men's basketball coach Will Brown announced on Thursday, May 19 that three student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to play for the Great Danes in the 2005-06 academic year. Jimmie Covington, a 6-foot-7, 235 pound forward/center from Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park H.S.), Jason Siggers, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard/forward from Dallas, Texas (New Mexico Junior College) and Kiel Graham, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward/center from Milwaukee, Wis. (Feather River Community College) each made his commitment. Brian Connelly, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward from Audubon, N.J. (Camden Catholic H.S.) inked his letter during last November's early signing period.

     "We have improved what I consider to be a weakness in that we have added size, depth and talent in the frontcourt," said Brown, whose team finished 13-15 last season, an eight-win improvement from the previous year. "We also added a wing player who can put the ball in the basket. This is a group that fits the University's profile of student-athletes who are both quality people and talented basketball players. With these four individuals and the return of a healthy Jon Iati, we have increased our chances of winning an America East Conference championship."

     Covington averaged 14.9 points and 11.2 rebounds for the Mustangs as a high school senior. He was named to the Chicago Public League's all-area and all-section teams. Covington, a member of the league's all-academic squad, was chosen to play in the City/Suburban All-Star Game.

     Siggers was named to the 2005 Western Junior College Athletic Conference first team, when he averaged 17.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals. A second-team All-Region V selection, Siggers shot 46 percent from the field and 79 percent from the line, plus made 56 three-point field goals. He played scholastically at Dallas' Skyline High School.

     Graham averaged 15.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks en route to earning first-team All-Golden Valley Conference recognition. He led Feather River C.C. in California to a share of the conference championship with a 19-10 record. Graham was ranked among the top 30 players in the state of Wisconsin as a junior and senior at Bay View High School.

     Connelly, who made his commitment to the UAlbany program last fall, was named to New Jersey's all-state second team. He averaged 22.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in leading Camden Catholic High to a 22-4 record. Connelly was also chosen first-team All-South Jersey and first-team All-Parochial.


2005-06 University at Albany Men's Basketball Signings

Name, Pos., Ht., Wt., Hometown (High School/Junior College)

Brian Connelly, F, 6-8, 225, Audubon, N.J. (Camden Catholic)

Jimmie Covington, F/C, 6-7, 235, Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park)

Kiel Graham, F/C, 6-9, 215, Milwaukee, Wis. (Bay View / Feather River C.C.)

Jason Siggers, G/F, 6-4, 195, Dallas, Texas (Skyline / New Mexico J.C.)

Edited by Dane Pound
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Looks like a great class coming in, especially Siggers from NMJC. Good to see us picking up some players out on the West Coast. I think that'll do well for us this year when added to our trip to play UCLA. I'm wondering (assuming there are no unforseen issues) who we will have redshirt? Although I'm not totally familiar with how it all usually works, I would think Brown would redshirt a kid out of HS before an experienced JUCO player? Would we have to redshirt more than 1 player of the recruiting class? And I would assume that Covington would be the first pick of the 4 to redhsirt? What are everyone's thoughts?

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We dont have to red-shirt anyone per se. THe JUCO's will NOT be red-shirted. I would think there is a possibility of one of Connelly or Covington to red-shirt. Bottom line.....we have 11 really solid players...and I am not even counting defensive specialist C. Johnson. We will be very, very deep this year.

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I think no one red shirts. The coach has no contract. It's going to be Win or Out. I wouldn't take a chance on another injury like:


Jamar - Knee

Iati - Shoulder

Lillis - Wrist


And then being short handed. Maybe someone would/could red shirt if I had the luxury of knowing I wouldn't be fired for not winning enough next year. We might have had transfer/s instead of JUCO recruits with some job security.

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Pretty pleasing stats. Hopefully his blocking skills will continue to grow to give us a threat to swat some shots away, an area I think was something we lacked a lot in last season. Don't like the ~50% from the charity stripe, especially for a post player who looks like he gets sent to the line fairly often. I'm sure they'll work with him on that though. I'm looking forward to seeing him on the floor.

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Congrats to Coach Brown. Once again he has proven that anything he does can only be a positive for the UAlbany basketball program, the athletic department and for the University as a whole. With that being said, I am beginning to wonder if there is another factor that is causing the athletic director to move very cautiously towards a contract extension. I can only think of two reasons. One, Coach Brown was not his "guy." Two, (and I know that this will an unpopular belief) that Dr. McElroy wants to have a basketball coach of similar race and background. I surely hope that this is not the case! Please note, that this is just a thought. I am searching for reasons why this extension has not gotten done.

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I would hope it's not a race or background issue - that's the same thing that was posted on the Siena board recently. The most successful coaches are a different race - Marr, Cannata, Sheffield, Ford...


Let's be clear, there still has not been a lot of on the court success in basketball. The 4th place finish is nice, but they were beaten in the quarterfinals by a SUNY rival that should have beaten them three times if they didn't implode under the pressure of a full court press in that first game. Also, the team finished the year horribly. I forget the record in the last several games, but I think it was 1 and 4 or 1 and 5.


I think the issue is academics. If you read the presidents faculty report he talks about the strength of the athletics program academically, if you read the basketball press release yesterday, Brown made it a point to discuss academics. I believe the issue is that Dyson and perhaps some of the other recent recruits have had challenges academically and there was one recruit (who was offered) who was suspended from his JC program for drugs.


I also think that if you step back and look at things objectively the basketball team still has a lot to accomplish, while I want the basketball team to be successful:


1. Baseball had a great year and has a chance to be in the AE tournament this year. They also were great last year.

2. Softball has had three great years in a row. Should have made the NCAA's two years ago but was swept on the last day of the AE tournament. Will be the favorite next year.

3. Lacrosse has made three consecutive trips to the NCAA's.

4. Football had an off year last year but previously won two consecutive conference championships. If the schedule were more appropriate for their level of play, they would be in the running for the mid major national championship every year.

5. Track has won a couple of AE championships in the last couple of years.

6. Golf won a championship one or two years ago.

7. Volleyball made the NCAA's this year and will be the favorite next year.

8. I think mens soccer was in the upper echelon of teams this year

9. Women's lacrosse made the AE tournament.

10. Women's basketball won a tournament game last year. Yes, the players were recruited by the previous regime, but they won a game.

11. Men's basketball is the flagship athletic program for UA. They have struggled since moving to D1. Brown has done a great job but they haven't had a winning season. The recruits have been great, they finished 4th in the conference but didn't win a tournament game.


This is absolutely a critical year for Brown. I believe that UA needs to extend his contract, but he needs to win. His press release yesterday talked about addressing needs to win a championship. The AE will be weaker next year and Albany will be favorite. I believe that with the quality of players that UA has now, they will win and Brown will be well rewarded. I don't think they even need to make the tournament, they need to win some tournament games.


I absolutely believe in Brown and the program, but let's not mix recruiting with winning - while they are related, they are not the same thing.


The question is does Brown stay after the success that he will have next year.

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I really hope we can put the race thing to bed. It started on the Siena board where there are several posters who make EVERYTHING into a race issue. We shouldn't let that kind of poison affect the way we look at things here.


McElroy has been an AD for nearly 20 years and has won a variety of award from his peers for the good job he's done. He's also done a great job here at Albany. To forget all that because of what some neanderthal on the Siena board said is foolish.


As far as the Brown contract I admit I'm torn. I really like what Brown has done so far and hope he stays for a long, long time. He's brought in great recruits and has had the long-term health of the program in mind. I'd like to see him have a great year next year and get a long term deal.


On the other side when you look around Division I basketball you don't see coaches who've never had a winning season get five year contract extensions. At least as far as I've seen. Combine that with the fact that Albany is probably still paying off Beeten and I can understand McElroy's reluctance to give him a long-term contract. I'd like to see give him one but I can understand why he doesn't, this year anyway. If we finish in the top 2 or 3 in the conference next year (which I think we will) and Brown still doesn't get a contract (which I think he will) then I will be just as angry as anyone.

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I have another theory. I was away when Driscoll got fired, but I've never heard why that happened. Whatever the reason for that was is probably also hanging over Brown's head and He's going to have overcome whatever it was. Hopefully having a great season will get him out from under. Maybe I'm all wet, but it sounds as plausible to me as the other scenarios we're all guessing at.

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