* I talked at length last week with Wilson Arroyo, the director of basketball operations at Life Center Academy in Burlington, about Dera Nd-Ezuma, the 6-10 center from Nigeria who recently committed to Rider. Arroyo raved about Nd-Ezuma's athleticism and said his shooting range extends "almost to the 3-point line." Like a lot of players from Africa (think Hasheem Thabeet), Nd-Ezuma didn't play organized basketball until his late teen years. In Nd-Ezuma's case, his junior season at Life Center, when he played on the Warriors' JV team, was his first season of organized ball. Arroyo said Nd-Ezuma is a Division I shot blocker right now, but has a big upside offensively. I'm told the Rider coaches were worried that some high majors were going to jump into the recruiting battle and elated that they secured Nd-Ezuma before that happened.
* The college basketball coverage in The Trentonian has been trickling in during the past week or so, and will really pick up in November. Here's a rundown of the staff's game plan and what you'll be seeing in the print edition and at www.trentonian.com: Just like last year, I'll be covering the Rider men and Joe O'Gorman will handle the Princeton men and women, the Rutgers women and the TCNJ men and women. Joe and I will split coverage of the Rider women. This year we'll also have Ryan Feldman, a college hoops junky who runs www.thehoopsreport.com, covering the Rutgers men. Ryan eats, sleeps and breathes college hoops -- people in the news room got mad at him because he wanted to talk college hoops in August, when people were just starting to talk about college football -- and I think you'll really like what you see from him. And he'll also be at the Old Spice Classic doing some work for his Web site and keeping an eye on Siena for The Blog and The Trentonian.
* Speaking of the Old Spice Classic, a note to pass along from the MAAC: Booster tickets, which get you into all three sessions involving one team, are sold out, but tickets for the tournament are still available. You can buy a pass for the entire tournament (six sessions) for $90, or a buy tickets for individual sessions (two games apiece) for $15. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling (407) 839-3900 or at the ticket office at Disney's Wide World of Sports. The tournament includes Siena, Georgetown, Gonzaga, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Wicita State and Tennessee.
* MAAC media day is Tuesday at the ESPNZone in New York, and The Blog will have extensive coverage.