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The Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog is back and improved. We'll keep you updated on everything you need to know about Rider and Princeton hoops as well as the college basketball landscape.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ryan Thompson in NBA summer leagues

Ryan Thompson could have fulfilled one lifetime dream by being drafted Thursday night. But in terms of a bigger dream -- playing in the NBA -- the future would have been uncertain either way.

Thompson, whose draft stock improved significantly because of strong showings on the NBA workout circuit, would have been far from an NBA lock had he been taken late in the second round, as some anticipated he would.

As it turns out, Thompson became a free agent Thursday night. Friday morning, he signed on to play with the Celtics in the Orlando summer league July 6-9; and the Kings in the Las Vegas league July 11-18.

Thompson has a lot to prove. But he'll enter summer play knowing he's played better basketball over the past two months than he did during most of his senior year.

First up is Orlando, where he'll join other Celtics roster hopefuls in the AirTran Airways Pro Summer League.

The Celts' roster hasn't been finalized, but their schedule is below:

Monday, July 5- Boston vs. Oklahoma City, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, July 6 - Boston vs. Philadelphia, 5 p.m.
Wednesday, July 7 - Boston vs. Charlotte, 1 p.m.
Thursday, July 8 - Boston vs. Indiana, 3 p.m.
Friday, July 9 - Boston vs. New Jersey, noon

VIDEO: Tommy Dempsey on Ryan Thompson's future

Here's Dempsey Thursday night in Cherry Hill, courtesy of Chris Melchiorre:

Ryan Thompson goes undrafted

First, sorry it's been a while.

My job as assistant sports editor of The Trentonian is busiest in the summer, and covering college sports has had to take a backseat to a number of other responsibilities.

Second, I wanted to pass along a link to Chris Melchiorre's story at Trentonian.com. Chris was in Cherry Hill for Rider's draft party and caught up with Tommy Dempsey, who told him the Broncs are "disappointed, but it's not the end of the line."

To that end, Thompson will head out in the next week or so -- maybe as early as Friday -- for more workouts. He'll have his eyes on a spot on an NBA summer league roster and, ultimately, in an NBA training camp.

If he's not on an NBA roster to open the season, the NBA Developmental League would be a likely option -- and probably Thompson's best route to the NBA.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

All you can handle on the APR report


Interested in today's NCAA APR report? The blog is your unofficial New Jersey, MAAC/Ivy/Big East APR headquarters. In other words, if you double as a college sports fan and a nerd, you've come to the right place.

The report contained good news for Central Jersey schools. Foremost among the honorees is the Rutgers football program, which ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Here are some other tidbits:

* Rider will never be considered an academic powerhouse, but to Tommy Dempsey's credit, with very few exceptions, his players go to class and do well. The Broncs scored a 985 -- the highest in the MAAC.

The full MAAC men's rundown:

Rider 985
Canisius 973
Siena 958
Canisius 948
Fairfield 942
Niagara 940
Loyola 939
Iona 939
Manhattan 933
Saint Peter's 928

* The APR, which measures academic performance over a four-year average, has its flaws and isn't a perfect indicator of success. But it gives the NCAA a way to easily hold programs accountable, and it provides a glimpse into how coaches run their programs.

Generally, there's a loose correlation between a school's academic prestige and its respective APR scores. That's why after Rutgers, the next four schools on the football list -- Air Force, Rice, Northwestern and Duke -- are all academic elites.

Just as important, though, is the structure these schools' coaching staffs have in place. That's why the Rider basketball and Rutgers football teams have consistently ranked ahead of some programs from schools with better academic reputations.

* Good job by the Iona women's basketball team, which brought home a perfect score of 1,000. The rest of the MAAC is as follows: Loyola (985), Manhattan (984), Niagara (982), Fairfield (981), Marist (981), Siena (977), Saint Peter's (973), Rider (971).

So yes, the Rider men finished first in the MAAC and the Rider women finished last. Whatever you want to make of the respective programs, it's proof that there isn't a direct relationship between the quality of the school and the quality of the score.

* Bad job by the Syracuse men's team, the only team in the Big East to be penalized for its low score, which in this case was a 912.

* Good job by the Princeton and Dartmouth women and the Columbia and Yale men, all of whom scored 1,000. Not that Ivy Leaguers getting good grades is a surprise, but not every school was perfect.

The Princeton men scored a 996, while the Dartmouth men brought up the rear with a 976. The least successful Ivy women's team was Columbia, with a comparatively awful score of 990 that would have been No. 1 in most leagues.

* Aside from Rutgers, the Big East has nothing to brag about in football. The Knights scored a 992, but the next highest score was 952 by West Virginia. Next were were 950s by Pitt and Cincinnati, UConn (949), Syracuse (947), South Florida (930) and Louisville (926).

Friday, June 4, 2010

Rider's non-conference schedule set

Rider's non-conference schedule, pieces of which have been firmly in place for more than a month, is now complete.

In addition to a season-opening trip to UMass, dates with USC and Pitt, two games as part of the Springfield tip-off tournament and a return game against Hofstra, the Broncs will play Lafayette, Monmouth, Drexel, La Salle, UMBC and Howard. The Lafayette, Monmouth and UMBC games are at home.

The Broncs will not play Rutgers. They won't play Princeton, either, though the two teams' staffs had talked earlier in the off-season about renewing their all-Mercer-County series.

The schedule is shorter than last year's on splashy names but longer on winnable games. Coach Tommy Dempsey said he thinks it has another star appeal while likely preventing early-season losses from piling up.

"Some quality opponents, some teams that have been traditionally strong in their leagues," he said, "and hopefully it gives us a mix of some games that we feel like we have a chance to put together a winning record in our non-league games.

"What you really stride for is a mix. You want to play a schedule that's really attractive to your fanbase and recruits, but you don't want to have a schedule that sets you up for failure. This fits."

The schedule, in chronological order:

at UMass
Lafayette
at USC
at Springfield tip-off tournament (two games)
Monmouth
Hofstra
at Pitt
UMBC
at Drexel
at La Salle
at Howard
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