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Full Court Press: Donyell Marshall takes over at Central Connecticut State, Hart’s performance over Notre Dame and more…

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)

A Marshall Plan

Former UConn All American and NBA veteran Donyell Marshall is looking to replicate what his former college coach and mentor Jim Calhoun accomplished when he resurrected the UConn men’s basketball program on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Marshall, a former Big East Player of the Year and a 15-year power forward in the pros, has taken over at Central Connecticut State for Howie Dickenman who retired after last season woeful 4-25 record.

Marshall, who was most recently an assistant at the University of Buffalo, has a huge challenge on his hands but has received guidance and encouragement from his former college boss.

Marshall and the Blue Devils (2-7) made a huge splash when they defeated Hartford, 75-60, in their first game of the season but have struggled since then.

The Blue Devils other win was on Nov. 30 when they beat Maine 82-61. CCSU opens Northeast Conference play on Dec. 29 at Wagner.

Marshall has his hands full but like many others in the Calhoun coaching portfolio (ie, Steve Pickiell, Kevin Ollie) success should not be too far away.

Hart makes a statement

Villanova senior Josh Hart single-handedly carried the Wildcats to a come-from-behind 74-66 win over Notre Dame on Dec. 10 in a battle of unbeaten teams.

Hart put on a superb individual performance torching the Fighting Irish for a career-high 37 points along with an important 11 boards.

Hart was a model of consistency throughout the contest scoring 19 points in the first half and 18 in the crucial second half when the Wildcats outscored Notre Dame in the game’s final ten minutes.

Hart, who is having a POY season, will lead the Wildcats in their first Big East game of the season when they host DePaul on Dec. 28.

After DePaul, Villanova will hit the road for two huge Big East meetings with Creighton on Dec. 31 and Butler on Jan. 4.

Beyond the arc

Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys continues his dominance in the paint. The 6-foot-9 board-banger leads the NCAA in rebounds per game with a 13.4 average.

Gustys, a junior, grabbed 18 boards in the Prides most recent win over Stony Brook.

Two other locals have cracked the Top 20 with Fairfield’s Amadou Sidibe No. 3 and Seton Hall’s Angel Delgado at No. 15.

Pitt’s Michael Young, a 6-foot-9 senior power forward, leads the ACC in scoring with 23.0 ppg.

Young, who played his high school basketball at St. Benedict’s, has scored 20 or more points in seven of the Panthers ten games to date.

You can catch Young in action at the ACC Tournament which will be played this year, March 7-11, at the Barclay’s Center (Brooklyn, NY).

King Rice’s Monmouth Hawks are riding an 8-game winning streak after a very convincing 82-79 road win over Tubby Smith’s Memphis Tigers.

The Hawks face Princeton on Dec. 20 and then head to Chapel Hill, Rice’s old stomping grounds, to face the Tar Heels on Dec. 28.

Monmouth will return to MAAC play on Dec. 31 when they host Rider at the Ocean First Bank Center (1 p.m.).

Some great viewing is available on the docket for tomorrow, Dec. 17, when Butler faces Indiana (2 p.m. ESPN2) and Notre Dame does battle with Purdue (4:30 p.m. BTN). All four teams are ranked in the most recent polls.

Save the date

The Ivy League will host its first men’s and women’s postseason basketball tournaments on Saturday and Sunday March 11-12 at The Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa.

The top four teams in the regular season standings will earn berths in the tournament and play for a berth in the NCAA tournament.

The ESPN family of networks will broadcast all the games.

When will it all end?

Sexual abuse in the sports world continues to make the headlines. Two of the latest communities to be impacted include US gymnastics and the University of Minnesota football team.

It was recently uncovered (as reported by IndyStar-USA Today Sports) that nearly 400 female gymnasts, most if not all minors, were victims of widespread sexual abuse by coaches, gym owners and other adults closely involved in the sport.

A very sad and disgusting disclosure!!

Ten Minnesota football players were suspended after an internal school investigation into an alleged sexual assault case.

The team voted to boycott all football-related activities including their upcoming trip to play in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27.

Let them boycott, but will somebody please step up and put a stop to this disturbing behavior!!!!

A Final Salute

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Sager family as Craig Sager lost a long-time and much-publicized battle with leukemia.

Craig Sager was an icon in the sports world, most notably known along an NBA sideline during a colorful broadcasting career.

Sager’s example of courage, perseverance and encouragement during his fight to defeat cancer touched so many lives…

RIP Craig … you will be missed but never forgotten!

Keep shooting…. see you next week….

Follow Bob on Twitter for all the latest in college hoop happenings, game highlights, features and more: @WhitneyBob

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Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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