Seton Hall University woke up this morning licking the wounds of it's basketball program in the aftermath of the most hectic day of the season. Unfortunately, there wasn't even a game played. Instead, a surreal and bizarre series of events transpired starting around 11:30AM. Following 80 minutes of lifeless postseason basketball, Bobby Gonzalez was shown the door.
Emotions were mixed, some fans were surprised, others overjoyed, a few angered, but I believe the majority of fans were relieved. Frankly, there were just too many embarrassing moments, black-eyes, clashes with anyone who crossed Gonzo's path and as Pat Hobbs put it, he represented a leadership that wasn't representative of the University. Four years later, it's time for Seton Hall to continue searching for that leader. Only this time, let's hope that they actually place a call to the incoming coach's previous athletic director. I think they will.
Next, the rumors that began swirling during the loss to the Red Raiders from students/message boards/twitter came to fruition. The New York Times reported that recently dismissed forward, Robert Mitchell was arrested on Tuesday afternoon. Another Seton Hall player student arrested? If heads weren't spinning fast enough in regards to recent events, the details of Mitchell's arrest sent the noggins of the faithful into a full-fledged tailspin.
As expected, everyone is weighing in on what has been some of the craziest 48 hours in the history of Seton Hall Basketball, let's get to it.
Dear friend to Bobby Gonzalez, Adam Zagoria writes that Seton Hall University, 'had enough' in his column for SNY:
Enough of his players being arrested. Enough of his abusive behavior toward administrators, officials, players, opposing coaches and the media. Enough of the embarrassment and dishonor he brought to the Seton Hall program. Enough was enough.
If you're unaware of the relationship between Zagoria and Gonzalez, please note that, "dear friend," was used with utmost sarcasm. Gonzalez most recently took a shot at Zagoria during an interview with Evan Roberts on WFAN, referring to the journalist as a, "blog-guru guy" who uses unnamed sources with no credibility. Bobby, Adam's had, 'enough,' of your cheap shots.
Bobby Gonzalez was fired as all hell broke loose according to Lenn Robins of the NY Post:
There are constituents from every segment of the college basketball community whose St. Patrick's Day celebration was made merrier by the news that Seton Hall fired coach Bobby Gonzalez at high noon yesterday. "There are 15 coaches in this league that can play together in the sand box," said one league coach who wished to remain anonymous. "And one coach who can't." Gonzalez honed his polarizing style over seven years at Manhattan, where he had remarkable success on the court while alienating every segment of the population off the court.
Out of control and out of a job reports Dick Weiss of NY Daily News:
He was focused on one thing and one thing only since he arrived at the South Orange campus four years ago, recruiting players who could help him win basketball games at Seton Hall and move into the upper tier of the Big East. He never realized the scope of the job, or that life in the gym isn't 2-4/7.
Great headline, Dick. Not such a great back cover for fans of the program.
There's been a laundry list of controversy since Gonzo took control. The Star-Ledger makes it easy for you to refresh your memory:
Mar. 4, 2007: Gonzalez is ejected during the second half of Seton Hall's season finale against Louisville after picking up a pair of technical fouls, his eighth and ninth of the season. The Pirates finished the season 13-16 and missed the Big East tournament for the first time in school history.
See, Bobby has indeed became a calmer man this year as he previously claimed, only picking up 7 technicals in 2009-2010.
The three recruits reacted to the news of Gonzo's firing. Only Fuquan Edwin has signed a LOI, whereas Jamir Hanner and Eugene McCrory have only given verbal commitments. Hanner and McCrory are free to sign elsewhere without penalty, however, I highly doubt they'd leave the BIG EAST and follow Bobby to his next stop, likely a mid-major. That said, stranger things have happened.
From Matthew Stanmyre of the Star-Ledger:
Jamir Hanner: "I'm really at a loss for words right now," said Hanner, a 6-8, 200-pound forward from NIA Prep in Newark. "I'm just shocked that he got fired. ... At this time, I'm still committed. I'm just going to see what's going to happen from here."
KIMA coach, Levet Brown makes a case that Eugene McCrory may reopen his recruitment search:
"Eugene has options," KIMA coach Levet Brown said. "He's got a whole lot of people looking at him. That would probably affect him going there because he only verbaled - he hasn't signed anything. He has options. I guess it's going to be another circus dealing with all this recruiting and everything."
I really don't understand the point of this tough-talk. What is it going to accomplish other than hurt McCrory's standing at The Hall? We're well aware he can sign elsewhere and that it absolutely his right to do so. I just can't comprehend what Brown is trying to accomplish other than a, "hey, look at me, I'm available" pitch to other schools. Bobby's not coming back, if you want to sign elsewhere -- do it. No need to talk about it.
"I'm mad that he (got fired), but I'm going to move on," Edwin said. "I'm going to try to build a fast relationship with the new coach, to make sure everything is good. This doesn't change anything," Edwin said. "I'm still going there."
Sounds safe, for now. Edwin, would need a release from the NCAA if he chooses to sign elsewhere. It's rather common for the NCAA to grant them now, especially when coaches who have recruited a player bail or get fired. I hope he stays, I'm really looking forward to watching "Fuq-Ed," or at least writing blog posts about him.
Zagoria provides a quote from Eugene McCrory:
"I don't know yet...I'm still thinking but I'm still with Seton Hall."
That means absolutely nothing to me, no confidence there.
"As of right now I'm still going," Hanner said by text.
Hit the jump for a short list at the early coaching candidates, Gonzo Ball's Robert Mitchell Reaction (part 2) and further reactions to Gone-Zo.
Another close friend of Bobby's reacts, Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports:
Bye, bye, Bobby. Going, going Gonzo. Whatever the case, I'm going to miss now-former Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez. Our chats were always entertaining. He'd call up, yell, scream and drop a few profanities before eventually settling down. He was, without question, entertaining.
Looks like Linda wasn't the only family member to call writers and editors. Unfortunately, the extremely entertaining, LindaMGonzalez.com is now set to private. I was really looking forward to reading her reactions following the recent events.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one surprised by Robert Mitchell's arrest. The Daily News reports:
Longtime AAU coach, Rodney Houston:
"That kid ain't like that," Houston said. "He's not that kind of kid. I know for a fact that he's not that kind of kid. He isn't a thug, he isn't a tough guy," Houston added. "He has no history like that."
A few things on the Mitchell arrest. I wrote my reaction on his dismissal on Monday night, at precisely the same time he was alleged to burglarize, kidnap and terrify eight occupants in a South Orange home. That said, I stand by everything I wrote about Stix from knowing him on the basketball court as a basketball player. I felt his treatment and release were unfair, however, I will not attempt to equate his dismissal to the events that he allegedly engaged in. Likewise, I will not attempt to make a connection that the robbery wouldn't have occurred if he didn't get kicked off the team. Nobody knows. It may have still taken place if Stix was never dismissed by Gonzo. Imagine that? Bobby would have a third black eye right now. Again, no one knows what has/is going through Mitchell's mind, only he does.
The events that transpired are extremely sad, if true. Sad, most of all for the occupants in the South Orange home that was terrorized, sad for a basketball player with a bright future and, sad for a young man who potentially threw his life away in making an extremely poor decision. Finally, take note of the word, "allegedly," scattered through these comments. In just about every Stix Mitchell reaction I've read, people are ready to lock him up and throw away the key. Have we forgotten that this is America and Mitchell is innocent until proven guilty? In time, his fate will be decided and justice will be served in the court of law, let it play out.
He was arraigned this morning reports the NYT:
Seton Hall University student and basketball player Robert Mitchell, 23, of Brooklyn, N.Y. entered a not guilty plea at an arraignment today, Thursday, March 18, 2010 in Newark before the Honorable Amilkar Velez-Lopez on charges stemming from a robbery on March 15, 2010 in South Orange.
The judge set bail at $650,000 and ordered a bail source hearing. The judge also ordered Mitchell to surrender his passport. The judge ordered Mitchell, who is scheduled to graduate in May from Seton Hall to have no contact with victims and witnesses may have been involved in the case.
Brendan Prunty tweeted from the court house:
Very eerie scene: Mitchell on the closed circuit TV, orange jumpsuit all alone on a bench in a gray room. Not moving a muscle, just waiting. Five memebers of Mitchell's family just arrived. Looks like Mom, Dad, two brothers and a sister. From what the judge seemed to indicate- Mitchell's alleged victims are members of the Seton Hall community in some capacity.
There's been a ton of people weighing in with their short lists regarding the coaching vacancy. There's A LOT of great candidates out there for the administration to talk to.
Paul Tyahla with his first part of a three part series breaking down the transition between selecting a new coach and the players who will play for him:
Mike Rice - The former top assistant to Jamie Dixon is in his second year as Robert Morris head coach, and has his Colonials in the NCAA Tournament. He's seen as a good X's and O's guy who is generally well-liked in the metro area scene.
Questions: Recruiting at Pitt is no longer a tough sell, and Rice's resume` on his own is good, but short. Is he ready to compete against the likes of Jamie Dixon, instead of with him?
Definitely check out Paul's piece here, I'm looking forward to parts 2 and 3. He lists his favorite as Richmond coach, Chris Mooney, however after Robert Morris' performance this afternoon, I chose to highlight Rice. Rice's defense is intense and his players showed that they wouldn't back down to a power-house in the BIG EAST. Imagine that? Defense AND fearlessness? Interesting choice here. Zagoria is on board with the Rice selection.
Fran McCaffery: One of the nation's hottest mid-major coaches after guiding Siena to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, McCaffery is a proven coach with northeast roots. But he has a lucrative long-term contract and his pick of available jobs.
Carino later added three names to the mix, bringing the total to eight.
The Star-Ledger repots that Bob Hurley Sr., would listen if Seton Hall gave him a call:
"I would listen to the people at Seton Hall about the job," Hurley said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Zags is reporting that SHU has already reached out to Tom Pecora who turned down the University four years ago before they hired Gonzalez:
Hofstra went 19-15 this season, falling Wednesday night to IUPUI in the first round of the CBI. In nine seasons at Hofstra, Pecora is 155-126. Twice during his tenure he has been named the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year.
Lastly, Paul Tyahla tweeted:
Just got the email from SHU. This year's bball banquet is cancelled due to "recent developments" regarding the program.
Well that's a shame, I mean, the players' shouldn't be punished because of the "developments."