St. Joe's Outlook: Time for Hawks to put up

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St. Joe's Outlook: Time for Hawks to put up

Enough with the projections and proclamations. Phil Martelli wants results.

“We’re not selling anything to the fans,” the Saint Joseph’s head coach said recently during the team’s annual media day. “We have to be about it, not talk about it.”

St. Joe’s was picked first in last season’s Atlantic 10 preseason poll only to finish 10th in the conference and stumble to an 18-14 record. The Hawks were denied an NCAA tournament berth for the fifth straight year and ended their campaign with a first-round exit in the NIT.

With last season’s disappointment in the rearview, St. Joe’s has its sights set on some familiar achievements for 2013-14.

“The first goal is that we want to win the A-10, too,” forward Halil Kanacevic said. “We’ve been here four years. We haven’t won the A-10 either. Got picked first last year and it didn’t turn out that way at the end. I think our first goal should be for the A-10, but the NCAA tournament, that’s something you really want to say that we obviously want to make it.”

Perhaps not what you might expect to hear from a squad that lost two veteran starters from a year ago. However, the Hawks appear to be in a rare situation when they might see some addition by subtraction.

The departures of trigger-happy point guard Carl Jones and passive big man C.J. Aiken could actually be a benefit on the court. The Hawks still return starters Langston Galloway (13.8 points per game last season) along with Ronald Roberts Jr. (11.2 points, 8.3 rebounds) and Kanacevic (8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds) in the frontcourt. Also back are spot starter Chris Wilson, and contributors Daryus Quarles, Papa Ndao and Isaiah Miles.

Throw in redshirt freshmen Javon Baumann and Kyle Molock with expected impact true freshmen DeAndre Bembry (6-6, 195) on the wing and Jai Williams (6-9, 275) down low, and the Hawks not only have a solid roster but also what they say is even better chemistry.

“This team has a sense of purpose and that purpose is to leave a mark,” Martelli said.

“We have a good group,” Kanacevic said. “Most coaches will say we’ve got a good group of kids. But, honestly, this is my fifth year of college and I haven’t been with a team like this with a group of guys that get along so well and actually like each other genuinely. It’s a genuine feel.

Some of that bond can be traced back to how the Hawks stood by Martelli during a trying offseason. The Atlantic 10’s longest-tenured head coach lost his sister to heart failure, his sister-in-law to cancer and watched his mother suffer a broken hip during a fall.

Not to mention his son Jimmy Martelli resigned from his job as an assistant at Rutgers for involvement in the Mike Rice scandal of verbally and physically abusing players.

All of that is certainly enough to break a man, but Martelli had the support of his SJU family.

“Really, the body blows that came after that in my personal life never gave me cause to say, ‘Oh well. This is harder to deal with than basketball.’ I don’t deal with it that way,” Martelli said. “In the spring I let the coaches do a lot of the individual instruction and kind of focused myself in recruiting.

“I go back to the quality of people that we have on this team. They picked me up. They got me going again.”

“Not giving him much headaches,” Kanacevic said of how the Hawks helped Martelli. “We knew he had a tough loss. Time to try to make it easy on him.”

The Hawks made things easy on Martelli by keeping their focus in the gym. Thanks to an exhibition tour in Italy during August, St. Joe’s got in 10 full offseason practices before heading for its first overseas trip since 1999. The Hawks went a perfect 4-0 on the trip.

“It was good. We definitely went over there and did what our expectations were as far as winning the games,” Galloway said. “We played good.”

“Italy was definitely a great experience,” Roberts said. “The young guys got a chance to play against older people, against grown men. So it gives them kind of a head start.”

“It definitely helped,” Kanacevic said. “You see a different culture, you bond, you meet new people.”

The trip also served as a testing ground for SJU’s new style of play. After averaging just 67.4 points per game (12th out of 16 A-10 schools), the Hawks are looking to run, run and run some more this season.

“Just up-tempo this year, more up-tempo. Getting up and down [the court],” Galloway said of the Hawks, who averaged 95.2 points per game during their four games in Italy.

St. Joe’s knows it must get its offensive attack together before it embarks on a challenging nonconference schedule and tough A-10 slate.

“Our schedule measures up again if you want to take the experts and the Atlantic 10 numbers. They based it on last year’s RPI. We have the No. 2 strength of schedule,” Martelli said. “ESPN ranks it the No. 2 schedule in the Atlantic 10 and I’m proud of that fact.”

Still, no matter who stands in their way, the Hawks feel they must accomplish their ultimate objective of getting back in the Big Dance.

“I’ve never been there, so I feel like we have to get there,” Roberts said. “There’s no other route. We have to get to the NCAA tournament.”

Temple PG Josh Brown suffers Achilles injury; surgery set for Wednesday

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Temple PG Josh Brown suffers Achilles injury; surgery set for Wednesday

The start of college basketball season is months away, but head coach Fran Dunphy's Temple team may have already suffered a huge blow.

Senior point guard Josh Brown suffered a left Achilles tendon injury last week and will undergo surgery on Wednesday. The timetable for Brown's recovery is unknown at this time.

OwlScoop.com first reported the news.

Last year's leading scorer and floor general Quenton DeCosey and big man Jaylen Bond have both graduated, so Brown was expected to take on much more of a leadership role on an evolving Owls team this coming season. Brown and guard/forward Daniel Dingle are the only seniors who were expected to steadily see significant playing time next season. Junior forward Obi Enechionyia is the only other veteran who would fit that category.

But now those plans could be out the window with Brown's sudden injury.

The injury to Brown also could potentially leave Temple without its two most dangerous guards for a significant period of time as sophomore Trey Lowe is still recovering from injuries suffered in a single-car accident in New Jersey in March. There is still no indication as to when Lowe could be ready to return to the court.

The potential absences of Brown and Lowe could lead to more significant roles for sophomore Shawn Alston, Jr. (2.3 points per game in 10.8 minutes of action a night last season) and incoming freshman and three-star recruit Alani Moore.

Brown, a 6-foot-3 Newark, New Jersey native, played in all 33 games for the Owls last season and averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game in 36.2 minutes per night, the highest average playing time of any player in the American Athletic Conference. His 3.50 assist-to-turnover ratio was best in the AAC and tied for eighth in the entire country.

Brown's signature moment last season came when he hit a game-winning floater in the dying seconds that enabled Temple to pull off an upset at No. 23 Connecticut in January. He also led the Owls with 16 points in their heartbreaking overtime loss to Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

News groups seek to unseal records in Penn State's Jerry Sandusky case

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AP

News groups seek to unseal records in Penn State's Jerry Sandusky case

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Two news organizations asked a Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday to unseal records in the pending criminal case against three former Penn State administrators over their handling of complaints about Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of child sexual abuse.

The Associated Press and The Legal Intelligencer on Tuesday asked Dauphin County Judge Richard Lewis to make public filings in the case against the university's former President Graham Spanier, former Vice President Gary Schultz and former Athletic Director Tim Curley.

The motion says dozens of unidentified documents have been sealed in violation of the public's right to access information from the courts. The docket lists dozens of "sealed entries" and provides no information about their contents.

"Although certain grand jury material is, under normal circumstances, properly maintained under seal, if information is in the `public realm' or does not `implicate the secrecy of the grand jury,' it should not be sealed, as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has instructed," wrote Gayle Sproul, lawyer for the AP and ALM Media LLC, publisher of the country's oldest daily legal newspaper.

She said the volume of sealed documents suggests they "sweep far beyond the narrow category of protected `matters occurring before the grand jury.'"

Schultz's lawyer declined comment, while messages weren't immediately returned by lawyers representing Curley and Spanier. A spokesman said the attorney general's office has "some reservations about the mass release" of information from the case.

The three men await trial on charges of failure to report suspected abuse and child endangerment. Curley and Schultz were first charged at the same time as Sandusky in November 2011; charges against Spanier were added a year later.

Superior Court earlier this year threw out many of the more serious charges against the men, based on a determination that the role played during grand jury proceedings by Penn State's then-general counsel, Cynthia Baldwin, violated attorney-client privilege. The Superior Court file also is sealed.

Sandusky continues to pursue appeals after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He spent decades as the defensive coach under Joe Paterno before his retirement in 1999.

Judge grants time for victim claims in Paterno-NCAA lawsuit

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Judge grants time for victim claims in Paterno-NCAA lawsuit

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Lawyers for Joe Paterno's relatives and the NCAA can have more time to look into newly disclosed allegations about claims of abuse against the late Penn State football coach's former assistant Jerry Sandusky, a judge said Monday.

Judge John Leete is presiding over a lawsuit by the Paterno family against the NCAA. He gave the parties 45 days to explore claims that a boy told Paterno in 1976 he was molested by Sandusky, and that two coaches witnessed Sandusky abusing children in the late 1980s. The information was made public this month when a Philadelphia judge ruled in a lawsuit by Penn State over insurance coverage for Sandusky-related claims.

Penn State's lawyers "will, as appropriate, approach victims in the Sandusky matter to ascertain their willingness to take part in voluntary discovery," Leete wrote after a Monday conference in the case. "The court will take all necessary steps to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of any such persons."

Paterno's relatives have rebutted the 1976 accusation, and an attorney for some Sandusky victims has said it is not irrefutably supported. Also, prosecutors have called the 1980s claims unreliable.

The claims were briefly described in a May 4 order by Philadelphia Judge Gary Glazer, but there were few details. The Associated Press and three other news organizations filed a request last week seeking to unseal related court records.

The Paternos say the NCAA's use of a Penn State-commissioned report damaged their commercial interests. Two former Penn State coaches, Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney, are also suing the NCAA, saying the report made it impossible for them to find comparable jobs.

Leete's order said he may adjust a timetable he laid out in March that established deadlines in the case through mid-October.

Messages seeking comment from lawyers for the NCAA and the Paterno family were not immediately returned.

Paterno died in 2012, two months after state prosecutors first charged Sandusky with child molestation.

Sandusky was convicted later that year of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence. He has maintained his innocence. A hearing in his ongoing appeals is scheduled for Friday at the courthouse near State College.