Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Joining The Staff

Quick - who is the all-time leading scorer in men's basketball at Princeton?

Bill Bradley obviously. He scored 2,503 points in three years without a three-point shot. Nobody else is really all that close to him. Ian Hummer, with 1,625, is second.

If you don't feel like doing the math, that's 878 points short of Bradley.

Second question - who is the all-time leading scorer in men's basketball at Villanova?

Hmmm. This is a team that just won its second NCAA championship. It has a long history of basketball success, with names like Ed Pinckney, Doug West, Scottie Reynolds, Howard Porter, Lance Miller (TigerBlog's least favorite Villanova player, but he'll get into that later), Bill Melchionni and so many others.

In fact, Villanova has 16 players who scored more points than Hummer did at Princeton and eight who scored more than 2,000. No Wildcat has reached Bradley - the record is 2,243.

And the record-holder?

It's Kerry Kittles, the newest addition to the Princeton Athletics family.

TigerBlog didn't realize that Princeton's new assistant men's basketball coach was the all-time leading scorer at Villanova. He did know that Kittles was a high NBA draft choice, thought he didn't realize he was the No. 8 pick in the 1996 draft.

Kittles would play eight seasons in the NBA (seven with the Nets, one with the Clippers) and average better than 14 points per game.

From the release on about his hiring:
Since finishing his NBA career with with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2005, Kittles returned to his undergraduate alma mater, Villanova, to earn his MBA, which he completed in 2009. Since 2010, he has served on Villanova’s President’s Advisory Council as an ambassador for the university, developing opportunities for students and alumni by engaging with the school’s corporate relationships, mentoring students and alums, and promoting academic success and career development.

His first year at Princeton will be with a team that reached the NIT a year ago and returns all five of its starters, not to mention another player who missed all of last year but has started 77 games in his career.

Bringing Kittles on board seems like a huge plus for the Tigers. He clearly has instant credibility with his educational and athletic background. Hey, how many Ivy League basketball coaches ever can say that they are the all-time leading scorer at a Division I school and they started 455 NBA games?

Maybe nobody ever? Who is TigerBlog forgetting here?

Here's another question - who averaged more points per game in his NBA career, Kittles or Bradley? It was actually Kittles. Bill Bradley averaged 12.4 per game - though in fairness he did play on one of the greatest "share the ball" teams in NBA history.

Oh, and why does TigerBlog dislike Lance Miller?

If you're a longtime Princeton fan, you know why. It was Miller who scored the game-winning basket in Villanova's 50-48 win over Princeton in the 1991 NCAA tournament opening round game.

That was a tough one for TigerBlog. It still ranks among the most brutal defeats he's experienced at Princeton.

The game was at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, and TigerBlog was all by himself, in the football press box, seemingly 100 miles from the basket - the far basket at that - in the football end zone, when Miller scored. It was Kit Mueller's last game at Princeton, and it was the third straight year that Princeton had lost a tight one in the NCAA opening round.

Princeton would be back the next year, 1992, with a 51-43 loss to Syracuse in Worcester. After that, Penn would win the next three Ivy titles.

The 1995-96 season, which included a sophomore point guard named Mitch Henderson, would see Princeton return to the NCAA tournament. Perhaps you remember that year? Princeton beat Penn in a playoff and then beat UCLA in the opening round.

The coaching staff of the 1995-96 Princeton team was extraordinary.

It featured a Hall-of-Fame head coach - Pete Carril - and then three assistant coaches - Bill Carmody, Joe Scott and John Thompson III. Within six years of that game all three assistants would have become head coaches; within eight years, all three would have taken his own team to the NCAA tournament.

How many times has this been equalized? A staff with a Hall-of-Famer and three assistants who would take their own teams to the NCAA tournament?

Somebody look that up for TigerBlog.

Anyway, half of that coaching staff has been reunited, as Joe Scott has now joined the staff of Bill Carmody at Holy Cross. Carmody took Holy Cross to the NCAA tournament this past year, his first in Worcester, and won the play-in game.

Scott comes back to the East after being the head coach at Denver. TigerBlog most recently saw Scott in February, when TB was out there for lacrosse and while there saw one of Scott's games and met up with the coach for pizza.

Like Kittles at Princeton, Scott adds a lot to Carmody's staff.

If you're a Princeton fan who has never met Carmody or Scott, they are among the most unique people TigerBlog has ever met. And among the best.

And, if you're a Princeton fan, you have to be pretty excited about the 2016-17 season.

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