Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 12:03am COMMENTARY - Ross pays off UD's patience in head coach By Sean Greene
VIDEO: Monte Ross on his players trusting him, and him trusting his administration
To say Monte Ross had a rough start to his tenure as Delaware's men's basketball coach would be an understatement.
The former St. Joseph's assistant took over the program after David Henderson was fired in 2006 with a 9-21 last campaign, only to see the Hens go 5-26 in Monte's 1st year, with a 3-15 record in the CAA.
Signs of progress would follow in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, with Delaware posting a 9-9 conference mark in his second season and a 13-win record the following year.
It was the 2009-10 season that would test the patience of newly hired Athletic Director Bernard Muir, who replaced Edgar Johnson after 25 years in the position.
A double-overtime victory at Penn would be the Hens only victory in their first seven games that year, including a loss to DelState.
The Jawan Carter-led team would lose 10 of its last 11 games to finish 7-24, and just 3-15 in the league, for another 12th place finish.
2010 would prove to be a major turning point for Ross.
First of all, despite two last-place finishes in 4 years, Ross was retained after the season. Secondly, he had announced a recruiting class which included a guard out of Aberdeen, Md. named Devon Saddler.
Carter still led the 2010-2011 team in scoring, but Saddler picked up 13.3 points and nearly 3 assists per game as the Hens improved to 14-17 and 8-10 in the league. Delaware had a 5-game winning streak in the non-conference, and again the momentum was swinging in the right direction, but Ross still didn't have his first winning season.
Ross' next batch of recruits included Jarvis Threatt, Kyle Anderson, and a transfer from Ross' former school in Carl Baptiste.
With Carter's eligibility expired, Saddler took over as the top point-getter, and despite a disappointing loss at Radford to kick off an 0-2 start, Delaware found itself at 6-8 after the non-conference season, with .500 a possibility.
Delaware would start 4-6 in the league entering February, but then something really different happened. The Hens could not lose. Delaware went 8-0 in the month, the only Division I school in the country to claim that feat, and the Blue Hens were 17-12.
A victory over 1-win Towson in the first game of the tournament was followed by a semifinal loss to Old Dominion.
Delaware would be bypassed for the NIT despite an 18-14 record, but the winning record was rewarded with a birth in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, where they lost to Butler, who was coming off two straight appearances in the national title game.
Expectations were raised in 2012-13, with forwards Jamelle Hagins and Josh Brinkley helped to lead the guards and Baptiste becoming eligible after his transfer year. In addition, powerful VCU had left for the Atlantic 10.
Delaware defeated Virginia on the road to earn a spot in the pre-season NIT, but the two wins to get there would be their only wins in a 2-6 start that skidded to 3-8. A 13-5 CAA run would follow, by far the Hens best effort under Monte, to get the Number 2 seed in the conference tournament.
Disappointment would again strike in the conference semifinals, as a disputed out-of-bounds call doomed Delaware to a 58-57 loss to eventual-champion James Madison. A 19-14 record proved to not be good enough for the NIT, and Delaware did not participate in either the CIT nor CBI despite putting a banner up for their CIT appearance the year prior.
This year's squad was projected 4th by the league's coaches and media after the graduation of Hagins and Brinkley, but the emergence of Baptiste along with the continued solid play of guards Saddler, Threatt, and Anderson, and the infusion of graduate transfer Davon Usher gave Monte Ross plenty of cards in his hand.
Getting to the CAA title was no smooth road. There were 3 month-long suspensions of three of his players for "Athletic Department Violations" including Saddler and Threatt, but still the team managed an 11-0 start to conference play, and ultimately a 14-2 record.
The rest, as many fans saw over the weekend in Baltimore, is nothing short of Blue Hens history. The coach who struggled to reach 10 wins now has led his team to 25-9 this season, and potentially a seed where they could be dangerous in their first game in the NCAA Tournament since 1999.
We live in an era where coaches don't get a chance to build programs. Unless you have some immediate success, it's back to the job listings. Monte Ross was given five losing seasons, and how he's made it three in a row.
I often quote the wishing well from the cartoon movie "Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island" who speaks to the title character: "Patience is a virtue, patience brings good luck. It is rarely found in humans, and never in a duck."
Mariam-Webster defines daffy as: "silly or strange often in a way that is funny." It might have been a strange feeling to storm the court after the win over William & Mary after 15 years out of the tournament, but I'm pretty sure the Delaware fans had fun.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 5:40pm S Jenkins gets 3-year deal with Eagles By Rob Maaddi/AP
Updated Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 8:22pm
The Philadelphia Eagles got their safety quickly.
The Eagles and former New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins agreed on a three-year contract Tuesday, shortly after NFL free agency began. It's worth $16.25 million, including $8.5 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team didn't announce terms.
"Malcolm is someone we've had our eye on for quite a while," general manager Howie Roseman said. "He has been a productive player his entire football career, both in New Orleans and at Ohio State. Everything you hear about Malcolm as a person is true. He was a two-time defensive captain with the Saints and is a high-character player. We are excited to add a guy like that to the culture we have established here."
The move came shortly after veteran safety Patrick Chung was released. The Eagles also agreed to a three-year deal with punter Donnie Jones.
Jenkins, the 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft, started 63 games in five seasons with the Saints. He fills a major need for the NFC East champions, and should bolster a pass defense that was the worst in the NFL last year.
The Eagles have had a revolving door at safety for a few years since former All-Pro Brian Dawkins left Philadelphia. Jenkins had 48 tackles, 21/2 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles in 14 games last year, helping the Saints finish second against the pass.
"We really liked Malcolm's versatility," coach Chip Kelly said. "He can line up at either safety spot, can come in and make a tackle and can play man-to-man as well. I had a chance to study him on tape leading up to the playoff game and really liked what I saw. He's a sharp kid and is ultra-competitive. We are really happy to have him in Philadelphia."
The Eagles lost to the Saints in a first-round playoff game in Philadelphia.
Jenkins has 358 career tackles, six interceptions, six forced fumbles and 41/2 sacks.
"Very excited about being a part of the (at)Eagles organization! I loved every minute I spent in New Orleans but all good things come to an end," Jenkins wrote on Twitter.
Jenkins becomes the third safety on Philadelphia's roster, joining Earl Wolff and Keelan Johnson. The Eagles haven't re-signed Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman or Colt Anderson.
Jarius Byrd and T.J. Ward were considered the top safeties available, but the team felt Jenkins is a better fit for its 3-4 defense.
Keeping Jones was a priority for special teams. Jones set team records with 33 punts inside the 20 and a net average of 40.5 in his first season in Philadelphia last year.
"Donnie proved he was a great weapon for us last year," Kelly said. "He had a really good season for us. I like the fact that we continued our trend of re-signing our core players. He's a good teammate and a player we prioritized during this free agency process."
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 8:25pm Ravens, Monroe agree on 5-year deal By Associated Press
The Baltimore Ravens and left tackle Eugene Monroe reached agreement on a five-year contract Friday.
Finding a way to retain the 26-year old Monroe was one of the Ravens' top priorities of the offseason. They now have the long-term answer at left tackle they have lacked since Jonathan Ogden retired following the 2007 season.
Monroe was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. He spent four-plus seasons with the Jaguars before being traded to Baltimore in October.
He started the final 11 games for the Ravens at left tackle.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 5:40pm Teheran, bullpen lead Braves over Phillies 9-1 By Jeff Berlinicke/AP
After the Braves learned Kris Medlen may have a serious elbow injury, Julio Teheran and five relievers combined on a two-hitter Tuesday in Atlanta's 9-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Atlanta said an MRI showed Medlen injured a ligament in his right elbow Sunday and that it is too early to determine the extent of the damage.
Teheran, who went 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA last season, struck out three in four perfect innings and has given up six hits in 13 scoreless innings this spring training. Closer Craig Kimbrel allowed a hit to Kevin Frandsen with two outs in the seventh after walking two batters.
Dan Uggla hit his second homer in two days and Todd Cunningham and Edward Salcedo also connected for Atlanta.
Phillies starter David Buchanan allowed hit and a walk in three innings, leaving him with a 1.50 ERA.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 10:26pm Jagr's 3rd-period goal lifts Devils over Flyers By Aaron Bracy/AP
Jaromir Jagr scored the winning goal to snap a third-period tie and led the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Travis Zajac had the other goal for New Jersey (29-24-13), which won for the fifth in seven games to move within two points of the third-place Flyers in the tightly bunched Metropolitan Division.
Nicklas Grossman scored for the Flyers (33-25-7), who are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Philadelphia had a potential tying goal by Scott Hartnell disallowed by officials with 40.1 seconds remaining because it was determined that Hartnell pushed goalie Martin Brodeur into the net.
Marek Zidlicky set up Jagr for the decisive goal with a backhanded pass from behind the net. Jagr lifted it off goalie Steve Mason and just inside the near post from close range to put New Jersey ahead 2-1 with 12:18 left.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 8:25pm UNC Wilmington fires Buzz Peterson By Associated Press
UNC Wilmington has fired basketball coach Buzz Peterson.
Athletic director Jimmy Bass said Tuesday that assistant Eddie Biedenbach has been promoted to interim head coach.
Peterson went 42-82 in four seasons with the Seahawks, never finished above .500 and went 30-53 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
They were 9-23 this season, won just three of 16 league games and dropped four of five to end the season - including a 78-70 loss to Hofstra in the first round of the CAA tournament.
His career record of 267-229 in 16 seasons also includes stops at Tulsa, Tennessee, Coastal Carolina and two stints at Applachian State - which, coincidentally, earlier this week fired coach Jason Capel, who replaced Peterson in 2010 when he left for Wilmington.
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