Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bits and Bytes: Breaking all the rules for Brad Kelleher’s debut

Back when Ozzy was merely hard to understand and Zakk Wylde's hair was only a little long!

I’m not saying I’m an obvious Hofstra homer, but if Dick Vitale ever stumbled across this website, he’d tell me to tone it down, baybee. But since Hofstra has been kind enough to grant me a credential to basketball games, I follow the same rules I lived by back during my pre-Defiantly Dutch days: No rooting in the press box, err, on press row, err, in my longtime seats.

Today, though, when Brad Kelleher finally makes his Division I debut after 20,305,210 days on the sideline (give or take 20 million) and about as many appeals to the buttheads that run the NCAA, I will break the rules, and I will put down my notebook and cell phone and whatever else I happen to be carrying, stand up and applaud. And I encourage you all to join me in giving Kelleher the type of ovation and making the type of noise the Arena has rarely if ever heard.

Even on a team filled with compelling stories, Kelleher’s is unique. After all, he’s waited hundreds of practices, 42 games and three head coaches for today’s opportunity. Stand up and cheer for him today.

Fortunately, though, my advice may not be necessary. Major credit to Hofstra for making Kelleher’s debut the focal point of the marketing for today’s game and to Kelleher himself for penning a Letter to the Editor that appeared in The Chronicle this week.

And major credit also goes to Hofstra—and that Tweeting/Facebooking machine Mo Cassara—for building a real buzz not just about today’s game but about the Flying Dutchmen in general. The Dutchmen have drawn an average of 3,229 fans to the first three home games. Last year’s first three scheduled home games (I’m discounting the Preseason NIT games though I shouldn’t) drew an average crowd of 2,626. Hopefully the gap between this year and last year keeps growing today.

A few other quick Bits and Bytes as we get ready for this afternoon:

—Bless modern technology. On the way to Connecticut Wednesday night, the much better half and I listened to the Flying Dutchmen’s epic 89-85 overtime win over Binghamton—on her cell phone. Talk about driving while distracted. It was incredible to listen to Charles Jenkins take over a game like few, if any players ever have at Hofstra in scoring 33 of his career-high 40 points after halftime, including the Dutchmen’s final 15 of regulation. I swear, it was like 1 on 5 out there.

Well, actually, it was 2 on 5. Mike Moore finally had the breakout game everyone has been waiting for, and it ended up being the most overshadowed 28-point effort of all-time. I haven’t had time to look this up, but I can’t imagine there have been many games like this in which two people accounted for so much of the boxscore:

Jenkins/Moore: 23-39 FG, 8-14 3-PT, 14-18 FTs, 68 pts, 8 assists, 3 TOs

Rest of team: 8-24 FG, 1-4 3-PT, 4-7 FTs, 21 pts, 2 assists, 9 TOs

Fun fact: Jenkins’ 40-point effort was the first by a Hofstra player since Speedy Claxton against Maine during the 1999-2000 season. The second-leading scorer that night was Norman Richardson, with a mere 19.

—The Binghamton game is one of those games where it felt as good to win as it would have felt bad to lose. Binghamton entered Wednesday as one of the lowest-scoring teams in Division I and in the midst of what is surely going to be a season-long punishment for selling its soul in exchange for an NCAA Tournament berth in 2009.

It was shaping up as a rare breather for the Dutchmen, a chance to get Jenkins some pine time in the final 10 minutes and for little-used bench players such as Paul Bilbo, Roland Brown and Matt Grogan to get some run. It, of course, turned into something a lot more suspenseful than that, but at least the Dutchmen won and kept building momentum. A loss would have been as demoralizing as the Western Kentucky defeat.

—And because we’re all about consistency here, the three stars from Wednesday night (no suspense here!):

3 STARS OF THE GAME (vs. Binghamton, 12/8)
3: Charles Jenkins
2: Mike Moore
1: Greg Washington

Charles Jenkins 22
Mike Moore 8
David Imes 6
Dwan McMillan 5
Greg Washington 4
Shemiye McClendon 2
Stephen Nwaukoni 1

—Jenkins’ brilliant effort earned him a feature story in today’s Wall Street Journal titled “New York’s Best College Player.” Duh.

—Lastly, while I congratulate Hofstra on closing a record sponsorship deal with W.B. Mason, I wish someone had thought twice—or at least consulted with me—before agreeing to let the office supplier sponsor the new lounge at court level. The official name will be the “W.B. Mason Pride Lounge.” Read that a couple times. That’s right. Our official lounge will feature the word “MASON” followed immediately by “PRIDE.” Why must I be mocked at every turn?

Email Jerry at or follow Defiantly Dutch at

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