2014-15 Rhode Island Hoops: Yes We Still Exist

HomeRunBaker

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yeahlunchbox said:
Funny you mention Duke specifically. Not sure if it's accurate, but there was a rumor we'll be going there or they'll be at the tournament at Mohegan and we'll be playing them in the 2016-17 season.
Coach K always pays back his former players who are kick starting their coaching careers with a payday. Even though Danny never played for him there is the relationship with the Hurleys which was my angle there.

I'm sure if George Blaney were still coaching he'd give his former recruit Danny a game too. ;)
 

CouchsideSteve

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Huge game tonight @ Dayton.

Winning tonight and on Saturday would at least clinch a share of the A10 regular season title, and likely puts an at-large NCAA big back in-play if they come up short in Brooklyn.

The dream is still alive.
 

URI

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HomeRunBaker said:
Let me put it this way. URI is winning the games they are suppose to win and falling short against (semi) quality teams simply because the Rams aren't ready or aren't good enough to do so. If the problem is getting over the hump agaiant (semi) quality teams, which is somewhat expected since they lack elite talent, I don't see how scheduling and likely losing more games helps URI get into the tournament.

I honestly feel Hurley designed his schedule to give them this best shot at sneaking in. More losses against Top-50s or Top-100s would have killed any chances of this.

As him team matures/improves i'd expect him to try and take a payday to go play at a Duke and agree to a home and home against a Top-50. This years team wasn't ready for much more than what was scheduled as their record vs Top-50s indicate.
 
I know why the schedule that was made was made.  So tell me, what did a game against Pace get this team?  How about UMass Lowell?  If they really didn't beat Delaware St by 40, they probably wouldn't have been prepared enough to beat Fordham twice by a combined four points.  That's not how teams "sneak into the tournament".  That's how teams get 22 wins and are 4 seeds in the NIT.
 
Hurley picked a chickenshit schedule (they scheduled 0 non-conference road games...Providence and Southern Miss were completions of contracts).  I know why he did it, and it's doing the team a disservice now.
 
yeahlunchbox said:
Funny you mention Duke specifically. Not sure if it's accurate, but there was a rumor we'll be going there or they'll be at the tournament at MohIegan and we'll be playing them in the 2016-17 season.
 
It's not a rumor
 

DrewDawg

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CouchsideSteve said:
Huge game tonight @ Dayton.

Winning tonight and on Saturday would at least clinch a share of the A10 regular season title, and likely puts an at-large NCAA big back in-play if they come up short in Brooklyn.

The dream is still alive.
 
It's going to be tough.
 
Per rpiforecast.com,  2 wins to close out the regular season only boosts RPI to about 56. A win over someone like LaSalle in the first round of the tourney and a semifinal loss to VCU keeps that RPI in the lower 50s, likely not high enough.
 
However, a run to the finals would get you into the lower 40s---real bubble territory.
 

URI

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No, Rhode Island isn't really on any meaningful bubble, unless they make the A10 finals.  The Davidson loss ensured that.
 
Most Bracketologies that dip that far have us as a 3-5 seed in the NIT.
 

DrewDawg

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URI said:
No, Rhode Island isn't really on any meaningful bubble, unless they make the A10 finals.  The Davidson loss ensured that.
 
Most Bracketologies that dip that far have us as a 3-5 seed in the NIT.
 
This loss tonight is a killer. Plugging that into rpiwizard's tool and even an A10 final run only gets them to 52. That site isn't perfect, but it's close enough.
 
http://www.rpiforecast.com/wizard/Rhode%20Island.html
 

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They'e hit a shooting slump the past three games.  Not that they are a great shooting team to begin with, but the free throw numbers have been ghastly.  not gonna win games only hitting 50% from the line.  I'm going to assume that it's a case of a young team getting close to reaching a goal and playing tight.  Hopefully it's a learning experience and something they can shake off heading into the A10 tournament, they've got a not so good St. Joe's team to get back on track against this Saturday.  Hopefully they loosen up and get back to playing better basketball and then see what happens in the tournament.
 

yeahlunchbox

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URI said:
 
I know why the schedule that was made was made.  So tell me, what did a game against Pace get this team?  How about UMass Lowell?  If they really didn't beat Delaware St by 40, they probably wouldn't have been prepared enough to beat Fordham twice by a combined four points.  That's not how teams "sneak into the tournament".  That's how teams get 22 wins and are 4 seeds in the NIT.
 
Hurley picked a chickenshit schedule (they scheduled 0 non-conference road games...Providence and Southern Miss were completions of contracts).  I know why he did it, and it's doing the team a disservice now.
 
 
It's not a rumor
 
Are we playing at Duke or are they coming up to Mohegan for the tournament? Are we guaranteed to play Duke in the Mohegan tournament if they're coming up here?
 

URI

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Duke at Mohegan. We'll play them.
 

norm from cheers

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A10 Semis this afternoon for URI Vs Dayton.  Dayton beat them earlier in the season at Dayton and are favored by 2 today.  Kinda of a big game for both teams obviously.. Go Rhody!!!
 

URI

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It's a good thing they didn't schedule aggressively, or they might have lost a game or two more an ended up as a 5 seed in the NIT rather than a 3.

Or they might have learned how not to choke away winnable games when the competition gets tougher. Take THAT Delaware St.!
 

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URI said:
It's a good thing they didn't schedule aggressively, or they might have lost a game or two more an ended up as a 5 seed in the NIT rather than a 3.

Or they might have learned how not to choke away winnable games when the competition gets tougher. Take THAT Delaware St.!
 
This has been the URI mantra since I started there in 2003. Was hoping this year would be different.
 
The good news: their two best players, Matthews & Martin, and 4 of the starting 5 coming back next year (and presumably the year after). Hopefully they learn from this and come back strong.
 

EL Jeffe

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Do they have ANY size coming through the pipeline? They essentially only had 6'7" Martin and 6'8" Birta and now Birta is gone. Iverson has good length for next season but he doesn't really profile as a traditional Big. Butts might be Martin Lite? They were too small this year and it seems like they're only getting smaller. That said, assuming Matthews comes back, they look like a top for A-10 team next season.
 

URI

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Martin plays pretty big in there. Earl Watson is 6'8 and big. Biruta occasionally went into the paint, but was a gritty rebounder.

Iverson is 6'9". Leroy Butts is 6'7" and a 3* PF. Other than that...
 

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URI said:
It's a good thing they didn't schedule aggressively, or they might have lost a game or two more an ended up as a 5 seed in the NIT rather than a 3.

Or they might have learned how not to choke away winnable games when the competition gets tougher. Take THAT Delaware St.!
 
I mean I get what you are saying, but with where the program has been and the youth on this team I don't see how this season could be considered anything but a success.  They got a lot of young players a lot of minutes in big games at the end of the year.  Yes, it would have been nice to have snuck into the tournament this season.  But the program is moving in the right direction, it is at least nice to relevant again (even if they are only relevant in the A10).  Next year they have a lot of important pieces coming back, Hurely is not going to jump to a bigger program after this season they are primed to make a run at the tournament.  I think it's fine to go far enough and say that a tournament bid is an expectation for this year in 2016.  After the decade and a half of mediocrity I want this thing turned around ASAP too, but it's a process and they seem to be doing it right so I am going to stay the course.
 

URI

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I don't disagree with you.

I'm saying this year had some lost opportunities that ultimately stunted their development a little bit. Like...great, we play Iona Tuesday. Would it have mattered if we went on the road to Pitt instead? NIT was a reachable milestone this year (ie missing would have been a disaster given the talent on the team)...so why not reach for higher?
 

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That's a fair point for sure, playing better teams would have been good experience and maybe they get a quality win vs. Davidson or Dayton at the end of the year as a result.  
 
Do you have more insight in the 2015-2016 schedule?  I can't find much on the google.  I see that you mentioned Duke but any of teams on the schedule from the bigger conferences? Besides PC.
 

yeahlunchbox

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I don't see where a tougher schedule would have made us more likely to win against better teams at the end of the year. For a young team we were remarkably consistent and well defined. We gave great effort every night and our defense was very difficult to score on. And while our defense kept us in pretty much every game, our shooting was very poor so our offense kept the other team in pretty much every game. I don't think playing a tougher schedule makes our team better shooters, which is what kept us from going to the tournament. I don't think our lack of experience is what did us in. 
 
As for next season's schedule, we play at the Cancun tournament, so that should get us two smaller schools at the Ryan Center and two games in Mexico against Maryland, TCU, and Illinois State. Also we head out to Nebraska to finish our home and home against them.
 

URI

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yeahlunchbox said:
I don't see where a tougher schedule would have made us more likely to win against better teams at the end of the year. For a young team we were remarkably consistent and well defined. We gave great effort every night and our defense was very difficult to score on. And while our defense kept us in pretty much every game, our shooting was very poor so our offense kept the other team in pretty much every game. I don't think playing a tougher schedule makes our team better shooters, which is what kept us from going to the tournament. I don't think our lack of experience is what did us in.
Well, look at it this way...

They almost lost to Fordham twice, at the end of games. They fell apart against Georgia Tech, St. Joe's, Davidson, Dayton, VCU, and UMass. They held on against Richmond, GW, and Nebraska. They tried their damnedest to throw away the LaSalle game away.

Say they played a couple better (mid-major) teams, and they get pushed early, get more experience in tight games...they might have stolen one of two of those games late, or maybe not needed a squeeky bum 2 minutes, and Gil Biruta being in the right place at the right time to not be 0-2 against Fordham.

I'll flip it on you though...this team scheduled this year Pace, UMass-Lowell, Delaware St, and Nebraska. They finished with 27 scheduled games (the exempt tournament and the 18 conference, and 8 non-conference)...what was gained by scheduling no road games, and leaving 3 games unfulfilled?

Why did we play a D2 as a regular season game? Why didn't we take a buy game against a major on the road to give the team more experience in atmospheres like that?

Rhode Island's fanbase is the only fanbase I've ever heard spend a decade bitching about soft schedules, and then when a schedule gets weaker, there are excuses about it.

Since Hurley took over, URI has had the 93rd, 238th, and 232nd toughest non-conference schedules. What is the value in that.

And I know what the next step argument is, but they turned down attractive games.
 

EL Jeffe

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Anyone hearing Dan Hurley to St. John's chatter (all I've seen is Twitter speculation only)? I can see how it would make sense for both sides, but damn. That would suck.
 

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IMO, Hurley would be a damn fool to leave for St. John's right now.  It's a program that's been mired in mediocrity for 25 years in a league with a terribly uncertain future.  If he stays at URI for the next 5 years or so and takes them to the tournament 3 or 4 times during that span (not an unrealistic goal at all) then he'll put himself on the shortlist of nearly every top job in the country. 
 

MillarTime

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Orel Miraculous said:
IMO, Hurley would be a damn fool to leave for St. John's right now.  It's a program that's been mired in mediocrity for 25 years in a league with a terribly uncertain future.  If he stays at URI for the next 5 years or so and takes them to the tournament 3 or 4 times during that span (not an unrealistic goal at all) then he'll put himself on the shortlist of nearly every top job in the country. 
I don't necessarily disagree on St. John's specifically but to say the Big East has an uncertain future when you are drawing a direct comparison to the A10 is laughable.

NYC can be tough to turn down. If Hurley left for St. John's, he'd immediately have access to players he could never get to come to URI. And if he takes an admittedly mediocre St. John's program to the tourney a few times in the next 5 years he'd be in the same position you describe above.
 

yeahlunchbox

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If he takes URI to the tournament two times in the next three years, which we're set up to do, and I can even see three for three, he's considered a top up and coming coach and has access to great opportunities. If he takes the St. John's job and only goes to the tournament twice in the next five years he's fired and his career is stalled out a bit. I don't think St. John's is a great opportunity, so if we can get the money close he's better off being patient, staying here, and waiting for the better opportunities that I think are in his future.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Orel Miraculous said:
IMO, Hurley would be a damn fool to leave for St. John's right now.  It's a program that's been mired in mediocrity for 25 years in a league with a terribly uncertain future.  If he stays at URI for the next 5 years or so and takes them to the tournament 3 or 4 times during that span (not an unrealistic goal at all) then he'll put himself on the shortlist of nearly every top job in the country. 
How much can URI offer him to stay? He's making a reported $700k now and the St. John's I'd expect to be at least 3x this amount on a guaranteed multi-year deal with aggressive buyout numbers. Why again would be be a fool to leave?

This has always been a stepping stone job for the most part just as Providence is. We got lucky with a homegrown guy like Cooley who has deep roots in the area but Hurley has always been a guy looking for the next big gig as he should be.
 

yeahlunchbox

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St. John's was paying Lavin $2 million a year, but Lavin had a larger resume so could command more money. In theory they could offer Hurley the same package, though I'm sure they wouldn't want to. Between Hurley getting a raise and St. John's history at best Hurley would double his salary, nothing to sneeze at, but certainly not at least 3 times his salary.

Also, everyone keeps saying Hurley is always looking for the next big gig, but I don't see where that's so at all. He turned down playing professionally in Europe so he could marry his college girlfriend. He spent almost a decade coaching high school basketball and during that time turned down the head job at Marist and an assistant coach position at Pitt. After his first year at URI he turned down the Rutgers job and used the leverage from that to get raises for his assistants and program enhancements. His history doesn't suggest a man looking for the most money or for the next big thing. All that said, this next week of various reports is going to suck.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Lavin also signed that contract 5 years ago when the market was different than it is today. TV contracts are larger and the market for coaches is much greater than in 2010.

Even if Hurley is offered $1.5 per that's more than double his current salary plus a higher prestige job in a big market. It's easy to sit behind a computer screen.....errrrr iPhone....and say Hurley should pass up more money for a much better job. I'm fairly certain that isn't Hurley's reality however.

Edit: I agree it would suck. Even though I'm a Friar at heart I'm also a prideful Rhode Islander for life regardless of where I live. Life is better when PC and URI are both good in my world.
 

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Rhody can go poach Bobby Hurley from Buffalo. Keep the Hurley pipeline going. I'm only half kidding. Bobby just took Buffalo to the tournament and was an assistant at URI before that gig.

Tyson Wheeler is also an assistant at Fairfield. I know it's a big jump to head coach and he should get seasoning at a lower level first, but Tyson Wheeler coming back to the Rams would be awesome.
 

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As reported by the Projo, Hurley & URI have reached an agreement on a contract extension
 
Smart move for Hurley, IMO. As noted by several others up-thread, URI is potentially the pre-season favorite to win the A10 in 2015-16, and seems to be a likely NCAA Tournament team for the next two seasons. If all goes to plan, Hurley will have his pick of several more attractive Big 10 and ACC jobs in 2017 (when he'll be only 44 years old).  
 

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( . ) ( . ) and (_!_) said:
That's a fair point for sure, playing better teams would have been good experience and maybe they get a quality win vs. Davidson or Dayton at the end of the year as a result.  
 
Do you have more insight in the 2015-2016 schedule?  I can't find much on the google.  I see that you mentioned Duke but any of teams on the schedule from the bigger conferences? Besides PC.
There's mention of a doubleheader at TD Garden featuring Kentucky.  UMass looks to be playing in it, but not against Kentucky.  But, there is mention of URI playing Kentucky.  Nothing official of course as of now.
 

yeahlunchbox

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It's being reported that Kuran Iverson's appeal with the NCAA was successful and he'll be eligible to play at the start of the season.
 

EL Jeffe

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Beyond the good Iverson news, there's been some activity around the program lately:
 
  • Nicola Akele is a 6'7" athletic wing from Italy who committed to the Rams last month. He supposedly has some tools and could be a legit sleeper.
  • They picked up a 6'8" 260lb JUCO banger in Andre Barry. The other programs offering him are pretty sorry, so I'm not expecting much. Still, this team desperately needed to add some size, so there's that.
  • They picked up another transfer in Indiana's Stanford Robinson. The former 4-star recruit wasn't particularly effective for the Hoosiers, but he'll sit out a year and could be someone to watch in 2016. He'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining. 
  • Assistant Luke Murray left for Xavier and was replaced by former Ram player Antonio Reynolds-Dean. 
 

yeahlunchbox

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The A10 also announced our conference schedule, though no dates yet. 
 
Rhode Island 
Home: Duquesne, George Mason, Richmond, Saint Louis, Dayton, Fordham, LaSalle, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s
Away: Davidson, George Washington, St. Bonaventure, VCU, Dayton, Fordham, LaSalle, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s
 
So essentially we swap out St. Louis as one of our five home and homes from last year, swap in Dayton, we get St. Louis as a home game probably because we played Dayton on the road last year, and all of our opponents we play only once flip home and away from what they were last year.
 

DrewDawg

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ODU boards are reporting that URI is coming to Norfolk to play as the first game of a home and home.
 

yeahlunchbox

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In case some of you don't check out keaneyblue.com, Dan Hurley just finished off a big three week stretch for the program. First, we received bad news, Leroy Butts was ruled academically ineligible according to the NCAA and was going to have to do a prep year before he could come to URI. Since that announcement we've recruited over him and he has decommitted.  We then got a verbal from Mike Layssard, a 6'9, 280 pound PF/C from Louisiana. He's a three star recruit that was going to visit Texas Tech and SMU but committed to us before going on those visits. We followed that up with a commitment from C Michael Tersea, a 6'10 three star who was scheduled to visit LaSalle and George Washington. Then we got a commitment from 6'8 three star power forward Cyril Langevine. He was recruited by mostly lower schools when we jumped on him but was going to visit Pitt in October if he didn't commit with us. Finally we closed the class with three star DC PG Jeff Dowtin. He had also visited Wichita St. and George Mason. So for the first time I can remember our recruiting is done before the year even starts and we've addressed our lack of inside presence and backup point guard.
 
I'm really optimistic that we go back to the tournament this season and now we're set up for a nice window of success with next year being our most talented and deepest squad on paper since the late 90's. 
 

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Picked to finish second in the A10, with both Martin and Matthews selected to the preseason first team.
 
It's going to be a fantastic A10 season, I think.  The team picked ahead of URI (Dayton) may be overrated considering that they're best player is currently in a legal battle to get back on the court, but regardless, there are at least six teams who I could see winning the league (Dayton, URI, GWU, Davidson, VCU, and Richmond). This should be the year that URI breaks through, but I think there are still two big question marks for them coming into the season: (1) Will their defense take a step back thanks to the new rules against grabbing cutters and physical play down low? (2) Did they do anything to improve three-point shooting (worst in the league last year)?
 

yeahlunchbox

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Pierre should be back for the A10 season, but who knows how rusty he'll be. Personally I'm not as high on Richmond as most people seem to be. They lost Kendall Anthony, their leading scorer, best outside threat, and second leading assist guy and are supposed to get better in the process? Richmond feels to me a lot like a slightly better version of UMass last year after losing Chaz Williams. I don't think they'll seriously contend for the top spot, they'll be at the bottom of the top tier or top of the middle class.
 

Orel Miraculous

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yeahlunchbox said:
Personally I'm not as high on Richmond as most people seem to be. They lost Kendall Anthony, their leading scorer, best outside threat, and second leading assist guy and are supposed to get better in the process? Richmond feels to me a lot like a slightly better version of UMass last year after losing Chaz Williams. I don't think they'll seriously contend for the top spot, they'll be at the bottom of the top tier or top of the middle class.
 
Yes, Richmond is losing Anthony, but they're returning literally everyone else (UMass lost not only Chaz last year, but also Sampson Carter, who was their third leading scorer.  And the guy that's replacing Anthony in the starting lineup, ShawnDre Jones, is well-positioned to replicate much of Anthony's production (he averaged 10ppg coming of the bench as it was, and actually had more assists and threes than Anthony is fewer minutes).  I'm scared of them. 
 

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If URI fan wants 2 tickets to any of the games (except for PC and American), please inbox me here.  Tickets would be free.
 
Thanks!
 

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Errrrr, hate to be the bearer of bad news, guys, but your season might've ended 20 minutes into it. Here's hoping it's just a sprain--sucks to see this as someone who always roots for the A10 to do well.
 

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You're not the bearer, I think we've all been on EC watch since he went down and all rumors coming out are torn ACL, done for the year
 

URI

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Yeah he tore his ACL.

Doesn't end the season for the team, it just makes it harder (Hassan Martin is the best player on the team). The biggest question is going to be if Thompson/Terrell/McGlynn can pick up the offensive, and defensive slack.
 

URI

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Have two free tickets for tomorrow night's game against St Joe's if anyone is interest. PM me if you want them, and I'll e-mail them over to you.
 

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What a disappointing season for the Rams. Once Matthews went down it was over, their other "scorers" are just so inconsistent you never know what version of the team is going to show up on any given night.

Also Hurely's antics are starting to wear thin. Every time out, every player injury, every single chance he gets he is in a ref's ear complaining about something. I get the need to work the refs, but it seems that he often wanders into straight up Ahole territory and I'm sure that's hurting the team. I'd much rather he sometimes, maybe once in a while actually goes and coaches his team instead of being a demonstrative douche.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Well how bout that! Go into Dayton and thoroughly dismantle the league leading Flyers! Gutsy effort says a lot about Hurley and a team really with nothing to play for bonding following the loss of Martin and getting an epic win.
 

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They really do a great job of battling under Hurley, and have since he took over from Baron. A couple of interesting notes from the game. Apparently they watched the HBO Real Sports segment on Team Hoyt Friday night before the game to get pumped up. And after the Dayton game at the Ryan Center a couple weeks ago, Scoochie Smith tweeted #roadkill. Apparently they used that for motivation as well because Jarvis Garrett, Kuran Iverson, and Andre Berry (where did he come from?!) all had roadkill tweets after Saturday's game.
 

yeahlunchbox

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So another season comes to an end and once again there were rumors of Hurley leaving. To Rutgers, again. And it's been announced he's staying. Also that as part of this Hurley was able to get more program enhancements from URI, though those haven't been announced yet.

Also, this afternoon EC was shooting jumpers at practice:
 

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I have to assume. I can't see him transferring out and sitting a second year in a row and he won't go pro after sitting out a whole year.
 

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I know it was announced that Hurley was not going to Rutgers but those types of announcements in college sports don't always mean all that much.

But Rutgers hired Steve Pikiell, the coach that just took Stony Brook to the tournament. So now it does look like Hurley will be back next year.

Probably the right choice to come back to a URI team loaded with veterans and primed to make a tournament run vs going to a stagnant Rutgers program. Getting to a bigger conference may well be a goal of his but I'm not sure that Rutgers job is great landing place.