Fordham Loses in A-10 Tournament, Hoping for Postseason Invite
By Matt Citak | Mar 10, 2016 | 3:58PM
NEW YORK -- Fordham's season may have come to an early end on Thursday as the Rams fell to the Richmond Spiders, 70-55, in the second round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament at Barclays Center.
Even if Fordham does not get invited to postseason play, this season was a good start to Jeff Neubauer's career at Fordham. For the first time in years, the future looks bright for the Rams.
Fordham went 27-66 in the three seasons prior to this year. A big reason Neubauer was brought in from Eastern Kentucky was to bring some established success to the Fordham basketball program. The head coach was 188-134 with the Colonels, leading them to five 20-win seasons and two NCAA appearences. In his first season with Fordham, the Rams finished 17-13, securing their first winning season in nine years.
NEW YORK -- As Fordham conducts?its coaching search via the Parker Executive Search firm in Atlanta, star freshman guard Eric Paschall is considering taking visits to Villanova and Providence, his father told SNY.tv Tuesday.
"Looking at schools in the area that might be a good fit, of course Providence and Villanova would fall into that category," Juan Paschall told SNY.tv by phone.
"But have we set up an official visit to any of them? As of this moment right now, no. Will we be in the near future? Most probably, yes."
Tom Pecora was fired on?Wednesday?after spending five years at Fordham, the?school announced.
Potential replacements for Pecora will likely include Albany coach Will Brown, a Long Island native who has taken the Great Danes to five NCAA Tournaments; Iona coach Tim Cluess,?a Queens, N.Y., native who has guided the Gaels to two NCAAs and two NITs; Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, who has taken the Jaspers to two straight NCAAs and lost Tuesday night's play-in game to Hampton; and Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell, who has taken that program to three NITs and two CBIs in the last six years. Columbia's Kyle Smith could also be a possibility.
"The decision was based on the fact that the University's men's basketball program has regrettably not achieved the desired results or made the sustained progress hoped for under Mr. Pecora's leadership, as measured by the won/loss record over five years, which was 44 ? 106 (29.3 percent), and the recruited student athlete retention rate over the past four years, which was 50 percent," the school announced.
Fordham sophomore guard Jon Severe has taken a leave of absence from the team to address personal issues, head coach Tom Pecora said.
?We will continue to support Jon as he addresses some personal issues off the court,? said Pecora. ?We wish him and his family all the best during this process and hope that everyone will respect their privacy.?
Severe has appeared in three games this year for the Rams, scoring five points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Fordham on Friday landed a commitment from 6-foot-3 Canadian point guard Joseph Chartouny of?Coll?ge Jean-de-Br?beuf in Montreal.
He is a former teammate of current Fordham freshman?Nemanja Zarkovic, where they won three Provincial championships together.
"It's a combination of basketball and school," Chartouny told SNY.tv by text. "I think I wouldn't have found a better fit of playing at the highest level of basketball and studying business at the same time.
Jesse Bunting, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound 2015 power forward from?Tabor Academy (MA) and the Expressions Elite AAU program, verbally committed to Fordham on Sunday.
Bunting also considered Duquesne, St. Joe's and Quinnipiac.
"I picked Fordham because of the opportunities it has to offer," he told SNY.tv. "As soon as I got there I knew it was the school I was looking for. I just felt it was the best fit for basketball as well as academics."
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Eric Paschall came up short in his ultimate goal of winning the National Prep Championship on Wednesday, but the Fordham-bound guard served notice that he could be a force in the A-10 over the next several years.
The 6-foot-6 guard went off for 25 points and 6 rebounds in the semifinals when St. Thomas More beat Syracuse-bound Chris McCullough and IMG Academy, 93-86.
In an 88-77 loss to Brewster (N.H.) Academy in the final Wednesday night, Paschall was limited to just 2 points because of a chronic toe injury that flared up and good defense from 2015 guard Donovan Mitchell.
Eric Paschall will be in the stands at Draddy Gymnasium Tuesday night when Fordham visits Manhattan in what should be an interesting non-conference affair between New York City programs.
But Rams head coach Tom Pecora probably wishes he could suit up the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Paschall to play against the Steve Masiello-coached Jaspers, who were picked to win the MAAC.
"He is an important piece to the process of our future success," Pecora said when Paschall officially signed his Letter of Intent. "Eric will have an immediate impact on our program when he joins us next year."
NEW YORK --- Jon Severe is only a freshman, but he's already caused a few jaw-dropping moments around Fordham's Rose Hill Gym.
"Obviously, he's a freshman, he's still learning all our defensive schemes and dealing with the intensity of practice but there are times when everybody in the gym will just kind of look at each other, players and coaches alike," Fordham coach Tom Pecora told SNY.tv at Atlantic 10 Media Day Tuesday at the Barclays Center, where Fordham was picked 11th out of 13 teams.
"He's been great in practice. There's a Tom Konchalski expression, someone scores like we breathe and that's kind of Jon. He puts the ball in the hole so many ways."
Devon "Fatty" McMillan has obtained his release from Fordham and will be at another school next semester, his brother, Dwan, told SNY.tv Tuesday.
"He's leaving because he feels like he needs a new setting," Dwan said. "He's just coming off surgery and missing the first six games. He felt it was best to move on. He thanks the coaching staff for giving him the opportunity to flourish as a freshman. But it was time move on."
Fordham coach Tom Pecora was not immediately available for comment. McMillan had initially pledged to Hofstra, but then followed Pecora to Fordham.
Manny Suarez, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound forward from Marist (N.J.) High School, verbally committed to Fordham on Monday, as first reported by SNY.tv.
Suarez, who runs with the Albany City Rocks AAU program, also held offers from Monmouth, Drexel, Penn State, Long Beach State and others.
"The reason I chose Fordham is I like the campus and the coaching staff is tremendous," he said. "When I spoke to them they gave me a lot of details about everything. My family and I just felt comfortable."
Every day while practicing with the Puerto Rico Senior National Team, Fordham's Chris Gaston gets to test himself against NBA players like Renaldo Balkman and J.J. Barea.
"They've taken me under their wing," the 6-foot-7 Gaston told SNY.tv by phone from San Juan. "I hang out with Renaldo [a former Knick] every day. I always ask him questions and stuff. He's been in the league for a couple years. He's been like a big brother to me."
Gaston, a rising senior at Fordham, is one of several American college players trying out for a spot on the Puerto Rico Senior National Team that hopes to compete this summer in the London Olympics. Florida's Mike Rosario and UConn's Shabazz Napier are among the others.
NEW YORK -- Jio Fontan and Tyshawn Taylor have been talking smack on the phone and in text messages for several weeks now.
With Fontan set to make his debut Saturday for Southern Cal (6-4) against Taylor and No. 3 Kansas (9-0) at Allen Field House (noon, ESPN), the chatter is running high between the two old friends and former St. Anthony teammates.
"I told him that's a terrible place for him to come back," cracked Taylor, Kansas' junior point guard from Hoboken, N.J.
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. ? Derrick Randall may pull the trigger before the summer ends.
The 6-foot-9 senior, 225-pound who will spend his final year at South Kent (Conn.) after competing at Paterson (N.J.) Catholic says Rutgers leads his list right now.
?I like Rutgers a lot,? Randall, a Brooklyn native, said at the Peach Jam after the Playaz beat California Supreme, 80-49, behind Kyle Anderson's 17 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, Myles Mack's 16 points, Desmond Hubert's 12 and Randall's 7 points and 7 boards .
"I'm looking forward to playing with all of them because it's better competition," Randall, 18, said Friday night at the Rumble in the Bronx at Fordham. "It gets you better. [It will] improve my game a lot and get [me] used to the college level, how they play."
Despite the huge penalties levied by the NCAA against the Southern California football team Thursday, Jio Fontan and his teammates on the basketball team are somewhat relieved.
"It's a little weird because as far as basketball-wise, things went pretty decent I guess. Of course we'd rather have no sanctions at all. But we understand we did wrong and we know we had to have some penalties," Fontan, the Paterson, N.J. native and former St. Anthony star who transferred to USC from Fordham, said late Thursday night during a phone interview.
In January, USC implemented self-imposed sanctions on the basketball team in the wake of the O.J. Mayo scandal, but no additional penalties were levied Thursday.
Rutgers coach Mike Rice has completed his staff by hiring Fordham associate head coach Van Macon, sources with knowledge said.
Macon, who worked under Tom Pecora at both Fordham and Hofstra, joins associate head coach David Cox and assistant Jimmy Martelli on the Rutgers staff. Jim Carr also remains as the recruiting coordinator.
Fran Fraschilla and Mike Rice are the two leading candidates to replace Fred Hill at Rutgers, according to a source with knowledge of the decision-making progress.
"Fran and Mike are 100 percent in the mix. They're in the mix. They [Rutgers] are speaking to them," the source said.
Former Philadelphia 76ers coach Eddie Jordan withdrew his name from consideration. Temple coach Fran Dunphy and former Boston College coach Al Skinner have also been in the mix, but do not appear to be leading candidates at this time.
Paterson (N.J.) Catholic High School will hold an emergency meeting Wednesday and the school could be on the brink of closing in June, multiple sources said Tuesday night.
"It?s a tough situation. It's sad. If they are closing, it?s a sad situation," said former PC and current Clifton High School basketball coach Tommie Patterson. "If Paterson Public Schools takes that building over, we need a technical school in this city."
St. John's head coach Steve Lavin has officially?put former Golden State Warriors assistant Rico Hines on staff.
Hines becomes the second person to join Lavin's staff, following former Drexel assistant Tony Chiles.
?Rico is a talented, natural-born teacher and coach with a relentless work ethic. He is one of the true rising stars in the coaching profession," said Lavin. "His talents in on-court player skill development and his reach as a north-to-south, coast-to-coast recruiter are among the definite benefits he brings to our staff at St. John?s."
NEW YORK -- They share the same first name, the same high school and, soon, they will share the same college announcement date.
Terrence Jones, a 6-8 forward pictured at left, and Terrence Ross, a 6-5 guard, plan to announce together at Portland (Ore.) Jefferson High School on either April 23 or April 30.
"We?ve almost been through everything together, worked out, tournaments and he?s back home so we just wanted to give our school something to cherish that day, just choose the same day," Jones said Thursday at the Jordan Brand Classic practice at Sports Club/LA in Manhattan.
When Jio Fontan wanted to leave Fordham last December, he was given a conditional release and prohibited from landing at a number of schools.
It was perfectly understandable for Fontan to be prevented from transferring within the Atlantic 10 Conference, but he was also restricted from joining nearly half a dozen Big East schools, including Rutgers.
Fontan, a 6-foot point guard who played for Bob Hurley at St. Anthony, once sat courtside at Rutgers? but never had any serious intention of coming to the school. He ultimately landed at Southern Cal.
St. John's coach Steve Lavin is still filling out his staff and will meet Friday with former Seton Hall assistant Scott Adubato, a source with direct knowledge said.
Adubato spent three years at Seton Hall under Bobby Gonzalez, who was fired last month. Before that he was an assistant coach for two years under Mike Fratello with the Memphis Grizzlies. He also spent seven years in scouting and player development with Memphis.
A New Jersey native and the son of former NBA and WNBA head coach Richie Adubato, Adubato is respected and connected in the Garden State. He recruited Kyrie Irving to Seton Hall and kept the Pirates in the mix with the McDonald's All-American until the end. He remains close with several uncommitted 2010 recruits, including Jonathan Graham, a 6-8 senior power forward from Baltimore (Md.) Calvert Hall, and the former UConn commit Cleveland Melvin, a 6-8 big man from Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep.
Is Tom Pecora the next coach at Fordham University?
Pecora says no,? but other sources say yes.
?My phone has been ringing constantly with people congratulating me on getting the Fordham job,? Pecora told Sean Brennan of the Daily News Tuesday evening. ?That?s pretty funny because I haven?t even been contacted by Fordham yet. I don?t know where these things get started but nothing yet. But I?ll let you know if I hear from them.?
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Ronald Roberts,?a 6-foot-8 forward from Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep who has committed to St. John's, said he was uncertain of his?plans now that head coach Norm Roberts' future is in doubt.
The New York Post on Thursday reported that Roberts would be let go at the end of the season. The team is NIT eligible and the school likely won't make any official announcement until after Sunday night's NIT selection process.
Lance Brown and three of his Fordham teammates spent Monday morning asking athletic director Frank McLaughlin to make Jared Grasso the school's full-time basketball coach.
Brown, Chris Gaston, Alberto Estwick and Brenton Butler have put their full support behind Grasso, the school's interim coach.
"We've been responding well even though we haven't been winning," Brown, a 6-foot-3 freshman from Teaneck, N.J., said Tuesday morning by phone. "We're comfortable with him and we're responding well to him."
Wagner athletic director Walt Hameline said the school is in the process of taking resumes for the men's basketball coaching vacancy created by Monday's firing of Mike Deane and that he hoped to have a decision made "toward the end of the month."
"We're taking resumes," Hameline said Wednesday morning by phone. "Obviously, we'll see who's applying and then there will be a committee put together on campus. Hopefully by the end of the month we'll get people on campus."
Asked when he hoped to make a decision, Hameline said, "I'm looking somewhere toward the end of the month."