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.
Roshown McLeod didn’t lose much during his high school career under Bob Hurley at St. Anthony.
And he doesn’t plan on losing much after replacing Dan Hurley at St. Benedict’s.
“If we can put the right team together, we can make a run. I lost three games in high school and I don’t plan on losing now,” McLeod, the former St. Anthony and Duke standout, said after becoming the new coach at the Newark school.
Before leaving to take the Wagner College job, Dan Hurley went 223-21 in nine seasons at St. Benedict’s. He coached four McDonald’s All-Americans and sent numerous players on to the Division I ranks, including Lance Thomas (Duke), Eugene Harvey (Seton Hall), Corey Stokes (Villanova), Samardo Samuels (Louisville), Greg Echenique (Creighton) and Rashad Bishop (Cincinnati).
St. Ben’s loses five seniors, including Aaron Brown (Temple), Gilvydas Biruta and Mike Poole, but 6-9 Arizona-bound junior forward Sidiki Johnson and 6-3 Texas-bound junior guard Myck Kabongo remain on the roster.
“I explained to them I would love for them to stay if I got the job,” said McLeod, who was fired by Indiana coach Tom Crean last month. “I need to speak to parents and guardians or whoever to make it happen.
“We’re going to have fun. We’re going to work hard and we’re going to continue to try to win games.”
McLeod gets the stamp of approval from the elder Hurley.
“Danny’s a tough act to follow but I think Roshown’s going to put his own footprint on the way they’re going to do things and I think it’s going to work,” Bob said.
He added: “I’m happy for Roshown because I know he really respects the sport. He wants to teach kids about how to play the sport, and while you’re teaching them be able to help them grow up at the same time.”
McLeod said he had already received hundreds of calls from parents and guardians interested in sending their players to St. Ben’s, which is not a full member of the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association and has no limits on where it can draw players from.
“I got 100 calls this [Wednesday] morning. ‘I got this kid, I got this kid,'” McLeod said. “I want to look at our roster to see who’s coming back and who’s staying and what pieces we need. I’m not going to just take kids just to take them. I want to make sure they fit in with what we’re doing.”
McLeod said he wanted to bring kids in as 7th- and 8th-graders so they had more time to acclimate to St. Ben’s and the system.
“We’re going to continue to play hard,” he said. “We’re going to continue to play a national schedule. We’re going to continue the success that they have had. We’re going to continue to bring in household names. We’re going to bring them in younger so they can get the full experience.”
St. Benedict’s never played St. Anthony because the Hurleys refused to play one another.
With Dan now at Wagner, could the two powerhouses finally meet?
“I could see us playing in the future,” Bob Hurley said. “It’s different coaching against a former player, way different than coaching against your son. Certainly in Mrs. Hurley’s eyes, anyway.”
Added McLeod: “We have talked about doing some things to help promote both programs together. Not being father and son, we have the ability to play each other. We have to come up with something that will benefit both parties and hopefully try to raise some funds for both programs.”
McLeod is still in Indiana and plans to move to New Jersey with his wife, Tiffani, by the end of the weekend.
Dan Hurley taught World History at the school and it remains unclear what McLeod will teach. He has a degree in Child Development and says he plans to be “embedded” in the school during the school day.
“I’m planning on making it a home,” he said. “This is not a steppingstone to get a job at the college level. I think this is my experience.”
He said he had not filled out his staff yet, but would be open to having Hurley’s assistants remain on staff. Scott Smith, Joe Sokolewicz, Cleve Eatman and Scott Butterworth all worked under Hurley. Smith also interviewed for the head job.
“I would if they would be interested,” McLeod said. “That’s totally up to them.”
During his storied tenure at St. Ben’s, Dan Hurley developed a reputation for being, shall we say, tough to get on the phone. It almost became his calling hard.
So, will McLeod be as hard to get on the horn as his predecessor?
“If I”m busy,” he said with a laugh, “I’ll always call back.”
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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.