Posts

NJ Biz Picks Up The Pearl

By Howard Burns

Basketball Hall of Famer and former New York Knicks star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe has signed for representation with IPZ, the management, representation and consulting company aligned with Warren-based public relations and marketing communications Zito Partners, the company announced.

The 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year and four-time All-Star has spent more than 30 years in the entertainment industry, with projects ranging from off-Broadway musicals to running his own record and publishing company. He also won the Peabody Award for producing the critically acclaimed documentary “Black Magic.” Monroe also does TV and radio commentary for the Knicks.

Additionally, Monroe is a motivational speaker and has written two books: “Earl the Pearl, My Story,” published in 2013, and “Getting Back in the Game,” a self-help book that is soon to be published.

Monroe has been a spokesperson for companies including Emblem HealthRemy MartinAmerican Heart AssociationBoehringer-Ingelheim, and most recently, Merck, where he led an award-winning campaign called “Diabetes Restaurant Month.”

“Class is the word that describes Earl,” said IPZ Managing Partner Robert Zito in a statement. “From his days on the court, to his family life, to helping his community and representing brands, ‘The Pearl’ is the class of class when it comes to ambassadors representing brands.”

View on NJ Biz.

FIVE BASKETBALL PLAYERS CHOOSE IPZ

Collegiate Standouts to be Represented by IPZ

WARREN, NJ, April 26, 2018 – Five basketball players – Avry Holmes (Santa Cruz Warriors), Donte Clark (Texas Southern University), Jonathan Mulmore (Georgetown University), Keith Carter (Valparaiso University), and J’Kyra Brown (University of Virginia) – have signed with IPZ.

Avry Holmes completed his rookie campaign with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G-League in late March. The 6’2 point guard and Clemson University product saw action in 43 games with the Warriors. Holmes averaged 19.6 minutes, 6.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game and shot 38.9% from beyond the three-point line.

Watch Holmes’ highlights from the 2017-18 season here.

Donte Clark led the Texas Southern Tigers to their first ever NCAA Tournament win this past season. In the First Four, Clark scored 18 points and secured 7 rebounds as the Tigers defeated NC Central. Throughout his collegiate career, the 6’4 Clark has been utilized as a swingman, and in the 2017-18 season, he averaged 18.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.

Watch Clark’s highlights from the 2017-18 season here.

Jonathan Mulmore was a staple in Georgetown’s starting lineup, under Patrick Ewing’s leadership, during his senior year. Mulmore played the point for the Hoyas and led the team in assists. He stands at 6’4 and averaged 5.6 ppg, 3.4 apg, 2.1 rpg, and connected on 46.9% of his three-point field goal attempts. The Hoya participated in the 2018 OAL Invitational and was named the MVP.

Keith Carter played collegiately at Valparaiso University and led the Crusaders in assists per game as both a junior (3.7) and a senior. The 6’0 point guard and posted a stat line of 10.3 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.3 rpg, and shot 39.4% from beyond the arc in his senior season. Carter was selected to the 2018 All-OAL Invitational Team.

Watch Carter’s highlights here.

J’Kyra Brown finished out her college career at Virginia this past season and appeared in all 33 games. The 5’11 guard averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game as a senior. Brown finished with 131 made three-pointers in her career as a Hokie, this tied her with Dawn Staley for 10th most in UVA history.

Watch Brown’s 2017-18 season highlights here.

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

EARL MONROE JOINS IPZ

NBA Legend Signs with IPZ for Representation

WARREN, NJ, April 24, 2018 – Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Hall of Fame basketball player, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

The 1968 NBA Rookie of the Year, four-time NBA All-Star (1969, 1971, 1975, 1977), and 1973 NBA World Champion began his basketball legacy as a collegiate senior when he led Winston-Salem State College to a National Championship in 1967 while averaging 41.7 points per game. That same year, Monroe was selected second overall in the NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets.

“The Pearl” enjoyed a 13-year career in the NBA and played with the Bullets from 1967-1971 until he was traded to the New York Knickerbockers. Monroe joined fellow Hall of Famer Walt Frazier and the pair was named the “Rolls Royce Backcourt.” Together, Monroe and Frazier led the Knicks to victory in the 1973 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Philly native retired from the NBA in a Knicks uniform in 1980. In 1989, Monroe was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Eight years later, Monroe was voted one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

Outside of basketball, Monroe has spent more than 30 years in the entertainment industry; projects have included producing off-broadway musicals to running his own record and publishing company. He also won the Peabody Award for producing the critically-acclaimed documentary Black Magic, which helped launch ESPN’s famed series 30 for 30. Monroe also does TV and radio commentary for the Knicks.

Additionally, Monroe is also a motivational speaker and has written two books, Earl the Pearl, My Story was published in 2013 and Getting Back in the Game is a self-help book that is soon to be published. He holds two honorary Doctorate Degrees, one from Manhattanville College and the other from his alma mater, Winston-Salem.

Monroe has been a spokesperson for companies such as Emblem Health, Remy Martin, American Heart Association, Boehringer-Ingelheim, and most recently, Merck, where he led an award-winning campaign called “Diabetes Restaurant Month.” “The Pearl” has traveled around the country to deliver the message, to people with type 2 diabetes, of maintaining a healthy diet when eating out.

“Since retiring from the game, it has been a pleasure to assist brands I feel strongly about,” said Monroe.  “And now, developing concepts for brands, while keeping my hand in the music and film industries, has been a great “Overtime” opportunity I cherish.”

“Class is the word that describes Earl,” said IPZ Managing Partner Robert Zito. “From his days on the court…to his family life…to helping his community…and representing brands, “The Pearl” is the class of class when it comes to ambassadors representing brands.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

Basketball Insiders: Darius Adams, Around the World in Seven Years

CBA superstar Darius Adams talks to Basketball Insiders about dominating in China, playing with Andray Blatche and trying to prove himself.

By Ben Nadeau

Darius Adams is just like every other professional basketball player.

Every year, he works hard, tries to improve and be the best teammate possible. One day, Adams would like to earn his first-ever NBA contract, but after seven long years, he’s always fallen just short. Adams is just like you and me too — forever chasing his dreams even when the outlook is at its bleakest. But Adams’ worldwide journey has taken him from Indianapolis to China and nearly everywhere in between.

Now with a chunk of money saved up, Adams is ready to bet on himself and finally make this at-home ambition come true. Ahead lies a summer of grueling workouts and undetermined futures, but eventually, you learn to stop betting against Adams. From Los Prados to Laboral Kutxa Baskonia, Adams has made a habit of proving the naysayers wrong. As if dropping 38 points per game in China wasn’t difficult enough — Adams still must undergo his toughest challenge yet: Changing the mind of an NBA front office.

But before you can know where Adams is going, it’s just as important to understand where he’s been.

*****

Darius Adams got a late start to basketball. He never played AAU, the so-called holy grail for teenage prospects, and told me that he learned the game by watching streetball in Decatur, Illinois. So by the time he fell in love with basketball, Adams was forced to take alternate routes to the top. He spent two years in the NJCAA with Lincoln College, a small, private liberal arts school approximately 33 miles away from home. During that second season, Adams averaged 18.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game on 44 percent shooting from the floor — but it wasn’t enough to make the jump to a Division-I school.

After transferring to the University of Indianapolis, Adams continued to improve in each successive campaign. As a senior, he topped out with a 41-point effort against Illinois at Springfield and tallied 23.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Nevertheless, Adams still went undrafted in 2011, officially setting off a globe-spanning adventure that would make Phileas Fogg blush.

From China to Ukraine, Adams has played in seven different countries in as many years, also adding stops in Venezuela, Dominican Republic, France, Germany and Spain along the way. Adams may have turned 29 years-old this week, but he’s never considered giving up his dreams of playing in the NBA.

“That’s the goal, that’s always been my motivation,” Adams told Basketball Insiders. “I just played my hardest and kept progressing, that was my thing — I didn’t want to be content with: ‘OK, you’re playing pro.’ I want to play at the highest level, I feel like I have the talent to play at the highest level.

“At the end of the day, I just need that opportunity.”

Opportunity is a word that has come to define Adams in many ways.

Beyond that, it’s something that has constantly eluded him, even as he began winning in bigger and better leagues. Despite all his international successes, including a EuroLeague Final Four appearance and a CBA championship, Adams has been unable to turn that into an NBA contract. As far as he can tell, it’s a matter of both perception and timing.

The perception of overseas athletes, particularly those that compete in China, has always been a hot-button issue. For as long as Americans have played in the CBA, there’s an unspoken expectation that they should dominate. Generalizations abound, if you’re from the United States and not dominating in China, there’s a low chance of earning an NBA deal. But sometimes, even topping the CBA charts still isn’t enough. This season, Adams averaged a league-leading 38.7 points and added 8.4 assists (2nd-best), 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals (3rd-best) per contest for good measure. On one hand, there’s the stat-padding, empty type of scoring and then there’s this: Absolute annihilation.

But those misconceptions about Chinese basketball often remain an unforgiving roadblock for many. Heck, even Adams had them before he signed with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers two years ago.

“It’s different, my perception was that there would be a lot of short guys that couldn’t play,” Adams said. “Actually, I was probably one of the shortest guys out there, as far as basketball players, and they got skills. They don’t get tired and they’re going to guard you tough, maybe they’re not as skilled as [Americans] are — but they got heart.

“I thought it was going to be easy, but they impressed me.”

And although Adams experienced his fallacies in real-time, he’s still waiting for the rest of the NBA to catch up.

Of course, Adams wasn’t the only American to tear up the CBA this season. Three other Americans, Brandon Jennings, Jonathan Gibson and MarShon Brooks, earned NBA deals this month. That trio of players all put up gaudy statistical lines as well, but none nearly as high as Adams’. Then there’s the case of Stephon Marbury, a former NBA All-Star that moved to China back in 2010, transforming his fringe-status career into a rejuvenated international icon. Marbury’s off-the-court philanthropy and three CBA championships speak for themselves, but Adams is often left wondering why it can’t work the other way around.

“You start questioning yourself, like: ‘What’s the reason why you’re not getting this opportunity?’” Adams told Basketball Insiders. “Some of the teams [I’ve worked out for] come back and say, ‘Well, he hasn’t had NBA experience.’ But when am I going to get my NBA experience if I never get my chance?”

*****

The other frustrating factor for players like Adams to navigate is timing — and as he put it, timing is everything.

To his credit, Adams has never shied away from a challenge or attempted to outmaneuver anybody on this long-winding journey. When he goes to workouts, Adams tells franchises that he’d be more than happy to go against their top guys — however, whenever, or whatever it takes. He’s impressed during private workouts before, but his most recent chance came just as Adams was getting ready to fly back to China for another season. Timing, again, had failed him.

Between workouts too late in the offseason or contracts that needed to be honored, the timing just hasn’t quite worked out for Adams. And it’s not for a lack of trying either — Adams has played two years of summer league (one with the Nets, one with the Mavericks), initially tried his hand at the D-League in 2011 and spends every offseason carefully deciding where to go next.

But when he made the all-important choice to jump from Spain to China in 2016, it wasn’t without a plan.

“Honestly, when I left Spain, I was nervous to go to China because the fans were like, ‘You’re gonna hurt your career, basketball is not as good [there] as it is in Europe,’” Adams said. “So I had that in the back in my mind. Me and my agent had a plan that I’d go to China — the CBA season is way shorter than the European leagues — and then I’d come back in six, seven months and hopefully get on a roster before the end of the season.”

It’s difficult to measure the merits of a big-time scorer overseas, particularly so in China, but Adams has now undoubtedly smashed through his ceiling. For a kid that once started out at a tiny college in Illinois, Adams followed up his Finals MVP-winning campaign in 2016-17 by nearly averaging a 40-point double-double this year. And although he challenged himself to diversify his game between those back-to-back Chinese seasons, he never once thought he would do… well, that.

“I didn’t go into the season wanting to be the leading scorer, I just wanted to win games and another championship,” Adams said. “We had a lot of adversity this season because my teammate, Andray Blatche, got injured early and the offensive role changed to me. Going against double-teams, triple-teams, that was the challenging part, because I knew my team needed me. Dealing with the adversity, it was challenging — but if you put me up to the test, I’m always going to prove myself.”

Although Andray Blatche isn’t a name heard often these days, he’s certainly well-remembered for his time in the NBA. Over his nine-year career, Blatche played for the Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets before heading overseas to China in 2014. While he, too, was part of the winning squad that brought the Flying Tigers their first-ever championship in 2017, Adams has also used the 6-foot-11 power forward like a soundboard. Frequently peppering him with questions about life in the NBA, Adams has nothing but adoration for Blatche, whom he now considers a close friend.

“I asked him what it was like to play with DWill, KG, how were the locker rooms, what were the practices like — but he also helped me see different things on the court,” Adams told Basketball Insiders. “Or, like, OK, I might be frustrated and in a bad place, he’d be like, ‘OK, D, you gotta let it go, you’re the leader of the team’ and things like that. Whenever I was down, he was there — he helped me out with being in China, adjusting to the food, where to go, he treated me like a little brother, actually.”

In order to make that second season in China count, Adams decided to focus on his untapped playmaking side, increasing his assist tally from 5.9 to that aforementioned 8.4 per game. For a while, he even thought that might’ve been why he hadn’t earned a 10-day contract yet, so into the grinder it went. Additionally, Adams dared himself to become a locker room leader, the kind of vocal, lead-by-example veteran that any franchise would value.

If the jaw-dropping statistics weren’t going to pave his path to the NBA, Adams was convinced he could find another way to grab front office attention.

“Right now, I’m already developed and can help [teams] win,” Adams said. “I haven’t reached my peak, I can still learn new things and keep progressing the same way. I’m already starting higher in the learning curve [than most young players] — but I’m also a good leader. I can be a scorer, I can be a defensive guy, I got all those qualities — I’m not just a one-dimensional player, I can help.”

*****

But as his season drew to a close in March (the sixth-seeded Flying Tigers were knocked out in the quarterfinals) Adams was, once again, without an NBA contract. In what Adams is now deeming one of the most important summers of his life, he’s going all-in on himself. Previously, Adams couldn’t ignore those lucrative million-dollar-plus deals, he had a family to look out for, after all. To him, it was a risk that he couldn’t take until this very moment. Sure, he could hit the G-League again — although he tried out for two teams, the Iowa Energy and Canton Charge, after going undrafted and was not selected — but there’s little money in that method.

Granted, Adams has always been motivated and hungry, but he’s got an extra push this time around.

“I’m going to all these different countries, I’m playing in their country — so why can’t play in my country?” Adams told Basketball Insiders. “If I’m one of the top players, how come I can’t get an opportunity in my country? Staying home, so my family can see me. My family has never seen me play overseas, only videos. You see all these other stories, like the guy that just played for the Lakers [Andre Ingram] — it took him ten years! It shows you to just never give up — all you need is an opportunity.

“I always tell my mom, my family, my kids that this year is gonna be the year. I’m gonna get my opportunity and I’mma be playing at home — daddy’s gonna be playing at home.”

Adams has always been a late bloomer — he’s forever the product of a once-raw teenager with no AAU experience. He’ll always be the barely 6-foot point guard that jumped into the NCJAA, quickly validated himself and then excelled in Division-II as well. But if you’re looking for a reason to disparage Adams’ hopes and dreams, you need not look further than this. How could somebody with those glaring blemishes ever play at the NBA level and against the best the sport has to offer?

Lest you forget, however, Adams is also the guy that will never stop fighting or believing in himself. Adams is the one that averaged 18 points in Ukraine and Germany and didn’t settle. The higher he climbed, the better he got. When he aced the test in France, he went to Spain and then got all of this. When Adams needed to adapt and change his game depending on the surrounding roster or culture — he did that too. But most importantly, Adams is tired of playing from behind and tired of missing his young family’s most key moments.

And now, with a whole offseason ahead of him, Adams is ready to do something about it once and for all.

“I’m staying prepared for whenever they have an opportunity, I’m betting on myself this whole summer and really taking a chance,” Adams said. “This year, I have enough saved up to really bet on myself. So, the goal is to just go to these workouts, get in front of these guys and show ‘em what I can do.

“That’s all I’ve ever needed, I don’t want anybody to just hand over a contract — I want to prove myself. I feel like I can make an impact — if you don’t think so, put me up against your guys and I’ll prove it.”

JAMIE CHERRY JOINS THE IPZ FAMILY

UNC Tarheel Signs on as IPZ Athlete

WARREN, NJ, March 23, 2018 – Jamie Cherry, a top-scorer for the University of North Carolina Tarheels for the past three seasons, has signed with IPZ, the company announced today.

Cherry is a Cove City, North Carolina, native who ranks second in the state’s history with 3,210 career points in high school, just 15 shy of the record. After being nominated as a McDonald’s All-American in 2014, Cherry began her collegiate career at Chapel Hill.

The 5-foot-8 point guard became a mainstay in the Tarheels’ starting lineup as a sophomore and averaged 13.6 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game. She also shot 81.3 percent from the free throw line.

In the 2016-17 season, Cherry eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for UNC and posted a stat line of 14.9 ppg, 3.4 apg, 3.3 rpg, and connected on 37.7 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc.

In her senior year, Cherry recorded her best overall game as a Tarheel against rival Duke on January 21, 2018, when she posted a double-double comprised of 22 points, 13 assists, and 4 steals. As a senior, Cherry increased her per game averages across the board: 15.4 points, 4.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals. She also shot 82.9 percent from the stripe and ultimately finished with a career free throw percentage of 80.9 percent, which is second best in school history.

“I chose IPZ because of the family-like atmosphere,” said Cherry. “I feel that IPZ will give me personalized attention and help me reach my full-potential as a professional basketball player.”

“First and foremost, Jamie is a class-act,” said Kyrsten Van Natta, IPZ’s WNBA Agent. “Over the past four years, Jamie has given every morsel of herself to the Tarheels. There’s no question in my mind that she will do the same for every team she is a part of. She’s improved year after year. I look forward to watching her continue to grow on-and-off the court.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

The coach…and his pizza.

It takes $2 and a pizza to get Bob Hurley Sr. into a HS hoops game these days | Politi

“Two seniors, please.”

The man behind the ticket table at the Seton Hall Prep gymnasium has spent the past 45 minutes making change for a steady line of customers, so he barely looks up from the cash box when he hears the latest request. Then he catches a glimpse of the gray-haired man standing in front of him.

His eyes go wide.

His hand shoots out.

Bob Hurley Sr. shakes it and smiles. He is the most accomplished high school basketball coach in this state’s history — maybe in any state’s history — but here, before a game in the state tournament he used to dominate, he is just another customer.

He has to pay his $2.

He and his wife, Chris, head inside the gymnasium, and almost immediately, a dozen heads pivot in their direction. A fan in the bleachers whispers to his buddy and points. The referees, the coaches, the athletic directors — anyone within a few footsteps stops to say hello.

It seems totally normal, of course. Hurley, 70, has spent nearly his entire life in gymnasium like this one, including 45 years as head coach of powerhouse St. Anthony in Jersey City. Why wouldn’t he be here at the West Orange school for a playoff game against St. Peter’s Prep?

Little did everyone know that Hurley has attended just a handful of games this season, and in order to just get the Naismith Hall of Fame coach into this gym, we had to bribe him.

With pizza.

Read the full story on NJ.com.

Randy Reed to Play in Argentina

IPZ Athlete Will Continue 2017-18 Campaign with Centro Español Plottier

WARREN, NJ, March 5, 2018 – Randy Reed has signed a professional contract with Centro Español Plottier (Argentina – TNA) for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.

Reed began his sophomore season as a pro with Al Ittihad (Saudi Arabia – SBL) and averaged 23.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.9 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game through seven contests. He also shot 64.7% from the field and 43.6% from beyond the arc; Reed led his team to a 6-1 record.

“I’m blessed to be going to play in my third country, it never gets old,” said Reed. “When I was 16, nobody would’ve, honestly, thought I would be on my third professional team. I’m looking forward to going to Argentina to play for Centro Español Plottier to make a playoff/championship push. I can’t wait to get started. Thank you, God.”

“We couldn’t be happier that Randy has signed with Centro Español Plottier,” said IPZ Managing Director Jeff Curtin. “He’s an amazing player and hard-worker who deserves the opportunity to continue showcasing his skills and helping his team win games. We are confident that Argentina will be a terrific place for Randy to advance his career.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.

Our Take on NCAA Issues

Seton Hall basketball: An expert’s advice on handling Isaiah Whitehead mess

Every now and then, you hear the phrase from an old-timer who still associates Seton Hall basketball with a 1961 point-shaving scandal.

“Cheatin’ Hall.”

That disgrace scarred the athletic department’s reputation for a generation.

Friday’s revelation by Yahoo Sports, that an unscrupulous agent listed former Pirate star Isaiah Whitehead on his payroll before the guard turned pro, is a far cry from throwing games. But it could leave a nasty stain. Exactly how nasty depends, in part, on how the university proceeds from here.

Bob Zito knows the deal. The seasoned public relations executive is managing partner of the Warren-based firm IPZ, which provides “strategic and tactical solutions” for professional athletes, media talent and entertainers. Among his past credentials: helping to build the New York Stock Exchange’s brand.

Gannett New Jersey asked Zito how he would advise Seton Hall, Whitehead and the NCAA as the FBI’s investigation into recruiting practices continues to rock college basketball.

“One of the big things in any situation like this — whether you’re a college, a basketball team or a Fortune 500 company — transparency is so important,” Zito said. “There are hundreds of (reporters) out there who will find someone to talk to them. You have to be transparent so no one can shoot at it. You can’t hide anything anymore.”

Seton Hall issued the following statement Friday afternoon: “We are aware of the Yahoo! Sports report. We have taken steps proactively to reach out to the NCAA and the BIG EAST Conference, and while we have not been contacted by investigators, we will be conducting our own internal review.”

Zito praised the statement as a good start. Fact-gathering always should be the first step.

“What Seton Hall has done so far is the exact right thing,” he said. “No. 1, you have to do your own internal review. That internal review has to be done by someone who is independent, but someone who knows what’s going on (in the sport).”

By independent, Zito means an investigator “who is not affiliated with the university,” he said. “That would be smart for Seton Hall.”

Speaking generally about someone in Whitehead’s position, Zito recommends telling the truth about agent relationships and letting the public assess a broken system.

“It’s, ‘Here’s what I did when I was 15, 16 years old, because that probably is the age when it starts,’” he said. “But he’s probably going to have to throw someone under the bus to do that, because my guess is it probably wasn’t his idea.”

So, expose whose idea it was.

“Young basketball players, people realize these kids are going to make money and latch onto them, give them bad counsel and steer them one way or another, and it’s just an ugly thing,” he said.

As for the NCAA, Zito recommends admitting failure as a starting point.

“Anybody involved in college basketball, quietly you know this stuff is going on, how it works,” he said. “The NCAA has turned a deaf ear to it.”

Each of his suggestions has a common thread: Transparency. That’s the first step toward earning public trust. As Seton Hall learned decades ago, that trust can be hard to regain.

FOUR NAGGING QUESTIONS

Here are four questions hanging over the program as the FBI investigation and Seton Hall’s internal probe unfold.

1. Did anyone employed by Seton Hall play a part in arranging for Whitehead to receive money from the agency ASM Sports?

2. Is there documentation that Hall head coach Kevin Willard knew about Whitehead’s ties to ASM while he was a student?

3. Did former assistant coach Tiny Morton’s reported $9,500 loan from ASM take place during his one season on the Pirates’ staff (2014-15)?

4. What impact, if any, does this have on the morale and focus of the current Hall team as it pursues a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance, especially given the seniors’ continued friendship with Whitehead?

View the story online.

Tyrell Nelson Claims Georgian Superleague Weekly Honors

American Tyrell Nelson (201-F, agency: Interperformances & IPZ) had a great game in the last round for the league’s second-best Rustavi and received an Interperformances Player of the Week award for round 19.

The forward had a double-double of 27 points and 14 rebounds, while his team edged out DELTA (#8, 4-13) 101-99. Rustavi is in 2nd place in the Georgian Superleague. Rustavi will need more victories to improve their 12-5 record. In the team’s last game Nelson shot a remarkable 75.0% from 2-point range. He turned out to be Rustavi’s top player in his first season with the team. Gardner-Webb University graduate has very impressive stats this year. Nelson is in league’s top in points (4th best: 18.6ppg), rebounds (5th best: 8.8rpg) and averages solid 61.7% FGP.

View more online: http://www.eurobasket.com/Georgia/basketball.asp?NewsID=522363&showcomments=1&Women=0#c

IPZ Board Member Bob Hurley in the New York Times

The School Closed. The Players Left. But the Coach Can’t Quit.

It was 3:50 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon when the gray-haired coach parked his silver Toyota Camry and strode purposefully toward the gym.

Bob Hurley, 70, wasn’t heading into his gym and he wasn’t getting set to coach his players — he no longer has either — but he needed a basketball fix just the same.

So wearing gray sweatpants, gray sneakers and a blue pullover, and armed with the black notepad he takes with him nearly every time he sets foot in a gym, Hurley entered Linden High School and took a seat in the first row of bleachers.

Since the closure of St. Anthony High School in Jersey City last spring, Hurley, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame who has won more than two dozen state titles, has become a coach without a team. He has found homes for the old trophies and scrapbooks, and even for his former players at new schools, but it will take more than a few months for him to adjust to basketball as a consumer experience, not an occupation, for the first time since 1972.

“This is weird,” Hurley told Linden’s coach, Phil Colicchio, when the latter came over to exchange pleasantries before the November practice. “Usually I’d be doing this stuff. But I’m stealing from you and I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.”

Of course, Hurley could have just found another team. When the news broke that St. Anthony was closing, he fielded calls from a high school in California and another in New Jersey asking if he would be interested in coaching this winter. Walking away from basketball was never an option, but leaving Jersey City, or taking over another team after decades at St. Anthony, just didn’t feel right, either. So Hurley has become a spectator instead.

By the time he settled into his seat at Linden High School, Hurley had already attended nine college games in four states this season. He had watched his son, Bobby, coach Arizona State on television and had seen his younger son, Dan, lead Rhode Island in person at least four times. He had attended more than half a dozen college practices and spoken at nearly as many clinics.

“It’s sad,” Dan Hurley said. “It’s the first time in 50 years where he’s not leading a group of young men.”

The transition has been easier for Hurley, in some ways, because his legacy lives on through the St. Anthony diaspora. Nearly 20 former St. Anthony players are on college rosters this season, and several dozen more have scattered to other New Jersey high schools through what Hurley jokingly refers to as the “dispersal draft.” Then there are the coaches and the assistant coaches, the old rivals and the old friends.

“I coach basketball,” Colicchio said. “He loves basketball. It’s two different things. And not too many people love basketball the way that he does.”

Hurley, who won nearly 1,200 games and 28 state championships at St. Anthony, drove the 15 miles to Linden not only to see Colicchio, but also to watch the progress of a former St. Anthony junior varsity player. Point guard Myles Ruth is expected to start for the Linden varsity this winter.

As much as Hurley tries, sometimes it is hard for him to keep a low profile. Before the Linden workout began, all 16 players, including Ruth, made their way to Hurley, forming a line to shake his hand. Once they began playing, Hurley lost himself in the action, occasionally scribbling in his notebook.

After one player took 11 dribbles and ended up right where he started, Colicchio, who shares Hurley’s dry sense of humor, reprimanded him loud enough for the whole gym to hear. “You took 11 dribbles,” he shouted. “You took 11 dribbles and you went from here to here!” Everyone, including Hurley, laughed along.

Hurley does seem to be enjoying himself in his retirement. He takes two of his grandchildren to school every day. He is fascinated by the television shows “Mountain Men” and “Homestead Rescue,” and he and his wife, Chris, are regulars at their favorite Jersey City restaurant.

He is still coaching, too. After St. Anthony closed, Hurley set up a nonprofit organization, the Hurley Family Foundation, and through that program he spends a few hours a week working with elementary school and high school players. But he still seeks out more basketball.

One day in October, he attended a practice at Fairleigh Dickinson in Teaneck, N.J., to check in on another former St. Anthony player, Kaleb Bishop, who is a sophomore forward for the Knights.

“The first thing he did when he walked in was he sat down and started taking notes,” said F.D.U. Coach Greg Herenda, who has known Hurley since attending his summer basketball camp in 1977. “I came full circle in my life in that I was conducting a practice and Coach Hurley was taking notes.”

Hurley has made a career habit of taking those notes, recording them in a black notebook that says, “Bob Hurley — St. Anthony Friars,” on the cover. He has years of these observations stored in plastic folders in his closet.

“There isn’t only one way to play,” he said, “so that’s why I think when you go from one place to another, you always should have pen and paper. You pick up something: It might be a phrase. You pick up a drill. There’s always something.”

In November, Hurley’s journey took him to the New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he watched two of his former players help defeat another who is now an assistant coach at Wagner, where Dan Hurley coached for two seasons. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, Bob and Chris took in three games in a tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut — two on a Saturday and one on a Sunday. (That is the maximum number of games, Hurley joked, that Chris will allow in one weekend.)

And at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, when most people were home with their families, Bob and Chris and their grandchildren Anna and Gabe headed to Brooklyn to see Dan coach Rhode Island against Seton Hall in a tournament at Barclays Center. The next night, around the same time Bobby was coaching Arizona State past No. 15 Xavier in Las Vegas, the elder Bob Hurley was back at Barclays Center, seven rows up, for Rhode Island-Virginia.

“I think it’s probably the hardest time of the year for my father and mother and former students,” Dan Hurley said. “I don’t want to just make it strictly a basketball thing. It was a community of young people that are suffering that a school that they loved and were nurtured and developed in is no longer there.”

Bob Hurley knows where he will be on Friday, when the New Jersey high school regular-season begins: at the Dickinson-Ferris game in Jersey City. On Dec. 30, he and Chris will head back to Rhode Island to watch Dan and Rhode Island face George Mason. The next day, he’ll continue on to Merrimack College in Massachusetts; three of his former pupils — Juvaris Hayes, Idris Joyner and Jaleel Lord — play for the Warriors.

After that there will be dozens more high school teams and dozens more high school players to check in on. Roselle Catholic. Mater Dei. The Ranney School. And more college trips, too.

“To this point, do I miss it?” Hurley said. “No, it just began.”

View online here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/sports/bob-hurley-st-anthony.html