Tag Archives: Basketball

Around The Rim With Bob Whitney: Welcome Back College Hoops

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Former Braintree High and Kimball Union star Nic Timberlake in action last year for Towson University. Timberlake is now a redshirt freshman for Towson this winter after last season’s injury-riddled campaign. (PHOTO COURTESY: Bob Whitney)

By Bob Whitney | @WhitneyBob

In case you haven’t noticed the 2019-20 college basketball season is off and running, highlighted by a nationally-televised doubleheader last evening featuring the top four teams in the men’s basketball preseason rankings: Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, and Kansas.

For all of us veteran purists, it was hoop heaven, the talent was amazing but the quality of play was spotty at best given such a huge stage on opening night.

That aside, it is my pleasure to pen a weekly hoop column for the hard-working Matt Noonan and his many followers here at Noontime Sports.

I have covered one of the Power Five conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), to be exact – for the last eight seasons, but this year I will focus on a little bit of everything but the primary focus will remain on all that is happening in New England – and that is a lot!

First of all, check out the Noontime Sports Men and Women’s New England D-III Basketball Preseason Top 10 Polls: (Men’s Basketball | Women’s Basketball)

A few thoughts from the basketball polls.

  • No surprise that Amherst College is perched at the top of both rankings. They have been the gold-standard regionally and a regular participant in the NCAA D-III Tournaments for years.
  • Speaking of Amherst, the men’s program suffered a sudden jolt in September when legendary coach David Hixon (after 42 seasons at the helm) opted to take a non-health sabbatical to deal with some family issues. The big question is can the program move on without Hixon’s leadership?

    Those close to the program feel that with the elevation of trusted assistant Aaron Toomey, who played under Hixon and helped win NCAA titles in 2012 and 2013, the transition should be seamless.

  • A game to watch (and to gauge how Toomey and his squad are managing the transition) is on January 10 when New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Middlebury College travels to Amherst.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • There have been a number of rule changes introduced with the most important one being the extension of the 3-point arc from 17 inches to the international standard of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches. Although testing of this change in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) last year found little change in shooting percentage, it was felt by the officiating honchos that it would alleviate congestion in the paint by forcing defenders to guard shooters further away from the basket. Stay tuned on this change.
  • All eyes will be pointing to Cambridge, Mass this season to see if the Harvard University celebrated senior class, led by awesome point guard Bryce Aiken, can finally win an Ivy League title, as well as earn an automatic tournament bid to the NCAA Tournament.

    Better yet, the Crimson will have some home-cooking help in March as this year’s conference tournament moves from the storied The Palestra to Lavietes Pavilion, March 14-15.

    The Ivy poo-bahs move to a conference tournament for men and women was a no-brainer – the atmosphere is pulsating and the quality of play is as good as it gets.

  • A shoutout to former Marquette University assistant Brett Nelson who assumes the reins at Holy Cross after Bill Carmody‘s decision to retire from the coaching ranks.
  • Did you know that we have a number of the top coaches in the women’s college game led by the legendary Barbara Stevens, who ranks fourth in wins among college coaches at Bentley University, Harvard’s Kathy Delaney-Smith, Stonehill College‘s Trisha Brown, Springfield College‘s Naomi Graves, and Babson College‘s Judy Blinstrub. If any of you have a daughter that may be destined to play at the college level the price of admission to catch one of these coaches in action will help with a final decision.
  • In my eight years following ACC men’s basketball, I had the privilege to hear firsthand from some of the great coaches in the game, including Coach Mike KrzyseskiRoy Williams, Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, and Mike Brey. Buzz Williams was a real stitch in the press room. But most impressive among this elite group of coaches was the University of Virginia‘s, Tony Bennett.

    Obviously, Bennett’s run to the national title was the big news last year but most noteworthy was his recent decision to forego a well-deserved a big raise. Bennett felt that his family was blessed and thankful for what they have and felt that the money would be better spent in funding a program to help athletes transition to careers after basketball. Bennett is destined to be the voice of the ACC once Coach K and Roy retire.

A FINAL THOUGHT

Best wishes to Kristen McDonnell who left the Braintree high school girls basketball program after a ten-year run which included four D-1 state titles and a bunch of sectional crowns. McDonnell is seeking a new challenge as the Norwood high school boys head coach.

Keep shooting. See you next week!

D3 Basketball: Women’s Basketball Top 10 Preseason Poll (Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 2019)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

A brand new season of New England D-III basketball is set to tip-off this week (and weekend, as well as next week, too), which means it is time to unveil our first  Noontime Sports Women’s Basketball Top 20 Poll.

Our weekly poll will be posted every Tuesday this month but will transition to Mondays in December once our New England D-III Football coverage concludes.

Fans of our New England D-III (and other regional basketball coverage) can follow @Noontime_Hoops on Twitter. 


New England D-III Basketball Women’s Top 10 Preseason Poll | Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 2019

1. Amherst College 

2018-19 Record: 25-4, 9-1 NESCAC

2. Tufts University 2018-19 Record: 28-3, 8-2 NESCAC
3. Bowdoin College  2018-19 Record: 31-2, 10-0 NESCAC
4. Middlebury College  2018-19 Record: 20-8, 5-5 NESCAC
5. Eastern Connecticut  2018-19 Record: 19-9, 12-4 LEC
6. Emmanuel College  2018-19 Record: 24-6, 11-1 GNAC
7. Babson College  2018-19 Record: 21-5, 14-2 NEWMAC
8. Smith College  2018-19 Record: 22-7, 13-3 NEWMAC
9. Springfield College  2018-19 Record: 18-10, 12-4 NEWMAC
10. MIT  2018-19 Record: 21-8, 12-4 NEWMAC

On The Rise: Brandeis University, Conn. College, Saint Joseph’s (Maine), Trinity College, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, Wesleyan University, and Western New England 

 

Catching Up With Sara Binkhorst (Wheaton Women’s Basketball)

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Sara Binkhorst was named the new Wheaton College women’s basketball coach last month. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brown University Athletics) 

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Sara Binkhorst is excited about her new job – she was recently named the new head coach of the Wheaton College women’s basketball program last month.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” said Binkhorst when asked about becoming the eighth head coach in program history.

“From the moment I stepped onto campus (as a candidate for the women’s basketball head coaching role) I was welcomed by the Wheaton community and the supportive (athletic) department, so I really am looking forward to all the things to come.”

Binkhorst arrives in Norton, Massachusetts after a successful four-year stint as an assistant coach with the Brown University women’s basketball program where she helped the Bears capture a pair of Ocean State Tip-Off Tournaments in 2017 and 2018 while assisting the squad to a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament in 2017.

With Binkhorst, the Bears finished above.500 three times, including this past winter, while also competing in the 2017 Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) where they defeated the University of Maryland Baltimore County (81-75) in the opening round before falling to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (87-84).

Binkhorst speaks fondly of her time at Brown, including what she learned from head coach Sarah Behn, who welcomed her to the coaching staff a few months after she graduated Bowdoin College.

Said Binkhors, “I will always be grateful for Sarah Behn for taking a chance on me (as a recent college graduate) and developing me (into the coach I have become). Brown was an unbelievable experience and it definitely helped me prepare (myself) for what I am excited to do at Wheaton.”

Being able to coach the Lyons will certainly bring back some fond memories of competing for the Polar Bears from 2011-2015 for Binkhorst, who flourished under the direction of current Bowdoin head coach Adrienne Shibles. As a member of the Bowdoin women’s basketball program, Binkhorst earned a pair of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) first-team honors while also being named the New England Women’s Basketball Association (NEWBA) Player of the Year in 2015.

In 2015, Binkhorst guided the Polar Bears to the NCAA quarterfinals – she averaged 14.4 points and 3.1 assists per game that season – and also became the 14th player in program history to net 1,000 points in her final regular-season contest against Tufts University.

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“Brown was an unbelievable experience,” Binkhorst said when discussing her past four seasons as an assistant with the Bears women’s basketball team. (Photo Courtesy: Brown University Athletics)

Noontime Sports recently spoke with Binkhorst to discuss her excitement for coaching Division III basketball, as well as what she will be doing over the next few months to prepare the Lyons for a successful 2019-20 campaign.

On becoming a D-III coach: “I am a true believer in a Division III experience. I played at Bowdoin and had an unbelievable experience playing for one of the greatest coaches, Adrienne Shibles, so I am a firm believer in what Division III promotes between the balance of athletics and academics. I love Division III and wanted to get into coaching after I graduated from Bowdoin (in 2015), and was extremely fortunate that I landed at Brown. I learned so much from that experience, including how to recruit high-academic student-athletes, which is similar to the type of students I competed with at Bowdoin.

I (always) knew I wanted to become a head coach (after I graduated Bowdoin), and I wanted to return to the Division III world, (so landing at Wheaton is a dream come true).  It is an unbelievable school that competes in a really competitive Division III conferences – I think (the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference) is one of the best in New England. Additionally, knowing the possibility of how to recruit regionally and nationally to a school like Wheaton is very exciting.

On competing in the NEWMAC: So, we competed against a few schools in the NEWMAC when I was playing for Bowdoin, but I have a great deal of respect for the conference and coaches. I feel really humbled and honored to be taking over a program to compete in the NEWMAC against some unbelievable coaches that have great traditions of success. I think the Wheaton program will continue to work hard to establish itself as one of the premier programs in the NEWMAC and we’ll obviously begin (this process) once we convene on campus this fall.

I am really looking forward to our first day of practice, being in the gym with our team and start competing, so we can (reach our goal) of becoming a championship program.

On preparations for the upcoming season: First and foremost, (the most important goal) is getting to know the women on our team. I have been able to have some great conversations with all the women on our team – I look forward to continuing (our dialogues) this summer, too – but I am really looking forward to getting to know our players and build relationships with them.

When everyone is on campus, I look forward to getting together and discussing the culture that we’re going to build collectively.


Stay connected with our New England basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops

NBA Announces Dates For Bucks-Celtics Series (Round Two)

CelticsLogo_History-1By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

Days after securing a first-round sweep of the Indiana Pacers, the Boston Celtics learned today that Sunday, April 28th will be the first day of their second-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee, which also secured a first-round sweep over the Detroit Pistons, will host the Celtics on Sunday, April 28th and Tuesday, April 30th in games one and two. Game one is scheduled to tip-off at 2 p.m., while no time has been announced for the second contest.

Boston will be the host for the third and fourth games, which will take place Friday, May 3rd and Monday, May 6th.

Game five (if necessary) will be held in Milwaukee, while Boston will be the site for game six (again, if needed).

Game seven will take place in Milwaukee – again if needed –  but similar to game two, no times for games two through seven have been listed.

The winner of this second-round series will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the winner of Philadelphia 76ers-Toronto Raptors. Both Philadelphia and Toronto needed five games, respectively, to secure first-round wins over the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic.

We’ll have more on the Celtics’ second-round series later this week on Noontime Sports, but make sure to stay connected with us on social media by following and liking us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

D3 Hoops: The 2018-19 All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Team

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports & @Noontime_Hoops 

Another exciting season of New England D3 basketball has concluded, which means it is time to unveil our end of the year All-Noontime Teams, along with our Coach, Rookie, and Player of the Year, too.

This year’s All-Noontime Team was assembled by our Noontime Basketball committee, which is made up of coaches, media members, and athletic communication directors.

As always, make sure to stay connected with our Noontime Sports basketball coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_Hoops. 


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For the second-straight season, Bowdoin College women’s basketball coach Adrienne Shibles guided the Polar Bears to an NCAA “Final Four” appearance. (PHOTO COURTESY: CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)

Coach of the Year: Adrienne Shibles (Bowdoin College): Shibles guided the Polar Bears to the program’s second perfect regular season, along with a repeat appearance in the NCAA Division III “Final Four.” Bowdoin occupied the top spot in multiple polls this winter, including D3Hoops.com and WBCA, and matched the school record for wins (31) in a single-season. Shibles was recently named the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division III Coach of the Year.


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Abby Kelly guided the Polar Bears to its second perfect season in program history this winter. PHOTO COURTESY (CIPhotography.com/Bowdoin College Athletics)

Player of the Year: Abby Kelly (Bowdoin College): The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and D3Hoops.com Northeast Player of the Year guided the Polar Bears back to the NCAA “Final Four” for the second-straight season after averaging 15.4 points per game in 33 contests. Kelly connected on 76.8 percent of her free throws while averaging 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Kelly became the 15th player in program history this winter to reach 1,000 points when she netted a game-high 27 points in a 72-59 win over Colby College in January.


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Caleigh Ryan became the second Wesleyan University women’s basketball player to earn NESCAC Rookie of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY: Steve McLaughlin/Wesleyan University Athletics)

Rookie of the Year: Caleigh Ryan (Wesleyan University): Ryan became the second Cardinal in program history to be named NESCAC Rookie of the Year after averaging 10.6 points per game in 25 contests, along with 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. The New York, New York native posted double-figures in 12 contests, including 22 points in her team’s regular-season finale against Bowdoin. Ryan also helped Wesleyan qualify for the NESCASC Tournament for the second-straight winter with the Cardinals earning a trip to Amherst College.


All-Noontime Women’s Basketball First Team 

Madeline Eck  Amherst College  Rye, N.Y. 
Abby Kelly  Bowdoin College  Bombay, N.Y.
Kelsi McNamara Saint Joseph’s College West Newbury, Mass.
Jac Knapp Tufts University  Westfield, N.J.
Nakira Examond  UMass Dartmouth New Bedford, Mass.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Second Team 

Hannah Fox  Amherst College  Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Maddie Hasson  Bowdoin College South Portland, Maine
Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda Emmanuel College  South Boston, Mass.
Lauren Bondi Smith College  Burnaby, BC, Can.
Erica DeCandido  Tufts University North Wales, Pa.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Third Team 

Payton Ouimette Babson College  Medfield, Mass.
Taylor Choate Bowdoin College  Nashua, N.H.
Emily Pratt  Endicott College  Gardner, Mass.
Kenzie Worcester Husson University  Washburn, Maine
Kennedy Guest-Pritchett Smith College  Fairburn, Ga.

All-Noontime Women’s Basketball Rookie Team 

Keagan Dunbar Colby College Middlebury, Vt.
Peyton Perine Curry College  Fairfax, Va.
Christina Antonakakis MIT Holmdel, N.J.
Amina Wiley Mitchell College New Rochelle, N.Y.
Caleigh Ryan  Wesleyan University New York, N.Y. 
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