Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Fordham Players Go to Bat for Jared Grasso; Sources: FDU to Retain Greg Vetrone
Lance Brown and three of his Fordham teammates spent Monday morning asking athletic director Frank McLaughlin to make Jared Grasso the school’s full-time basketball coach.
Brown, Chris Gaston, Alberto Estwick and Brenton Butler have put their full support behind Grasso, the school’s interim coach.
“We’ve been responding well even though we haven’t been winning,” Brown, a 6-foot-3 freshman from Teaneck, N.J., said Tuesday morning by phone. “We’re comfortable with him and we’re responding well to him.”
Fordham finished the season 2-26 overall, 0-18 in the Atlantic 10. Brown said McLaughlin and the University will likely decide on a new coach “in the next 2-3 weeks.”
Robert Morris coach Mike Rice, a Fordham alum, and Hofstra coach Tom Pecora have also been mentioned prominently in connection with the job.
Still, Grasso appears to have overwhelming backing from his core players, including Gaston, the newly-minted A-10 Rookie of the Year, as well as several prominent local high school coaches.
“He’s the best thing for those youngsters that are on that basketball team,” said Hector Gaston, Chris’ father. “Jared’s a hard-working young man. My relationship wit him goes a lot deeper than just basketball. It’s a personal thing. Those kids respond well to him. Those kids are looking to work with him.
“The Fordham athletic department will make a big mistake if they don’t give that young man that job.”
Brown attended Paterson Catholic and one of three commitments Grasso has gotten for next year is from senior wing Jayon James of the Cougars. PC is currently ranked No. 3 nationally by PrepNation.com and meets St. Anthony Thursday night in the North Non-Public B final at Rutgers.
Both PC coach Damon Wright and St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley speak highly of Grasso.
“I definitely hope that the University gives him a shot at him coaching these kids that he’s put all together,” Wright said. “Him being as young and energetic as he is, I think he’s gonna do a good job. I hope the University gives him a chance to coach the pieces he brought in. These guys are going to buy into what he says.”
Hurley has sent three players to play for Grasso, Estwick, Gaston and former point guard Jio Fontan, who transferred to USC but maintains a strong relationship with Grasso.
“I’ve been very impressed with him, with his work ethic,” said Hurley, who has been nominated for the Naismith Hall of Fame. “I think he relates very well to kids. I think he’s really coming along as a coach.”
As for what Fordham should do, the coach added, “That’s for other people to decide.”
Brown said the players were anxious to get in the weight room and begin off-season conditioning to get ready for next year. He said the team was in many games for about 30 minutes before letting it “slip away.”
“Definitely, I think it will be good to start our postseason workouts so everyone gets better and bigger and stronger,” Brown said. “I really think we’re going to be real good in the A-10 next year.”
SOURCES: FDU TO RETAIN GREG VETRONE
Fairleigh Dickinson will remove the interim tag from Greg “Shoes” Vetrone during a 4:30 p.m. press conference today, according to multiple sources.
Vetrone and Tom Barrise were the main contenders for the job and sources said Barrise was informed Tuesday that Vetrone will get the job.
“Barrise just got word” that Vetrone got the job,” one source said.
Vin Parise first had the story at VPHoops.com.
FDU finished 11-21, losing to LIU in the NEC quarterfinals.
(Photo courtesy Fordham athletics)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.