Friday, June 22, 2012

Hoops notes and a Heat check

How ya like me now?
We'll start out on the NBA tip: Congratulations to Tia Lewis, Kamile Nacickaite, Tiffany Suarez, Aprill McRae and all the other Miami Heat/Lebron James fans reveling in Thursday night's championship victory (by the way, we had the Heat winning in six). As Boston Celtics fans, this wasn't exactly how we wanted to see things go down. But all credit to the Heat and particularly James, who was simply spectacular throughout the entire playoff run. It's funny. A couple of months ago, despite undeniable talent Lebron was easily the most criticized player in the NBA. Now he's an NBA champion and Finals MVP. In a few weeks, there's a good chance he'll be standing on a podium with a gold medal around his neck at the London Olympics. And if that happens, even his toughest critics - we're talking about you, Skip Bayless - will have trouble dogging this man going forward.

Then again, Bayless will probably find a way.

Now, back to the women's game:

* - The Hampton Roads 7 Cities Basketball women's basketball summer league kicks off its second season Saturday at Maury High School in Norfolk. The five-team circuit features a generous assortment of players from Old Dominion, Norfolk State and Virginia Wesleyan. Click here for the rosters; here for the schedule

* - We'll freely admit that much of the data the NCAA reports when it comes to Academic Progress Rates (APR) goes over our head. We do know that a score of 1,000 is perfect, and that anything below 930 is asking for trouble. With that in mind, here are the multi-year APR scores for each of the state's women's basketball teams:

William and Mary - 991; Richmond - 991; Virginia Tech - 986; Liberty - 978; VCU - 976; James Madison - 967; Virginia - 966; Hampton - 964; Radford - 964; Longwood - 964; George Mason - 948; Norfolk State - 930; Old Dominion - 910

Since it's impossible for us to tell who's doing what in the classroom, we hesitate to draw too many conclusions from these numbers. But two general observations:

- It's never surprising to see William and Mary at the top of any list of academic achievement, and kudos to Richmond as well;

- Norfolk State and especially Old Dominion need to get busy raising those scores. Not only is ODU's the lowest (by far) of any CAA team, according to the Daily Press it's also the third-lowest of 342 Division I teams. To be fair, ODU's number - which are based on numbers through the 2010-11 season - is one of the main reasons why there was a coaching change last season. It will be interesting to see the Lady Monarchs' 2011-12 score and see what kind of progress was made in the first year of the Karen Barefoot regime.

* - Two reasons to keep an eye of the 2012 World Olympic Qualifying Tournament beginning Monday in Ankarra, Turkey:

Quanitra Hollingsworth: Not sure if the ink is dry yet on the former VCU star's Turkish citizenship papers, but Q looms as a key figure in Turkey's bid for an Olympic spot;

Clarisse Machanguana: The 38-year-old ex-member of ODU's famed "Portuguese Connection" is still holding it down for Mozambique. 

The qualifying tournament also includes Mali, which for years has been led by another former ODU star, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba. But the 34-year-old Maiga-Ba is not listed on Mali's roster for this event. The top five finishers in the 12-team qualifying tournament will earn bids to the London Olympics. 

* In case you haven't seen it, here's a link to the recent ESPN report on the increasing number of men coaching women's basketball teams that casts a wary eye on Virginia Tech's hiring of Dennis Wolff. We're still waiting for a balanced look at this subject. This report - and many others we've seen on this topic - cherry-picks its facts to present only one side of the issue. 

* - Finally, congratulations to former Richmond star Danielle Bell, a Virginia Beach native who has been hired by new Auburn coach and Hampton Roads homegirl Terri Williams-Flournoy (Newport News) as the Lady Tigers' director of basketball operations.


  1. I think it is very interesting and perhaps telling that the Academic Progress Rate (APR) for ODU WBB had fallen so low. I do think this contributed to Wendy Larry's ouster. It would be interesting to know the Academic Progress Rate for the ODU football team since that program now seems to be getting most of the attention and support at ODU.

  2. With greater attention comes greater scrutiny, so ODU football is about to find itself under a pretty intense microscope with the move to C-USA. We'll see how the program bears up.

    By the way, the football team's multi-year APR was 917, the lowest among CAA schools. So that program has academic challenges to sort out, too.