Manhattan (61) vs. St. Francis Brooklyn (54) 12/20/2016

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This was indeed the smallest gym I have ever been to in my entire life. That includes countless middle school, high school, college and pro arenas. It does not get more intimate than this with a 1200 seat capacity. I attended the game with my daughter Hope who was visiting friends in New York City. She did ask on multiple occasions, “This is Division 1 basketball?”.

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Both rosters were filled with NYC players. Although the teams are in separate leagues, one could tell by the jawing back and forth between both teams that many of the players were on rival teams in the NYC high school scene. As you see the banners in the above picture, I noticed the absence of an NCAA tournament banner. Yes,  the St. Francis Terriers are also one of only five Division I programs to have never participated in the NCAA tournament.

 

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I don’t like to bad mouth any player but I can not resist when discussing Ahmed Ismail from Manhattan. I saw this 7′ 2″ Egyptian giant warming up  and was intrigued.  He would surely dominate this game with his height. On the contrary, I have never seen a worse big man on the college level ever. He hustled and was genuinely trying out there. However, he fumbled 95% of the balls that came to him whether they were passes or rebounds. I am convinced that Ismail was signed sight unseen strictly because of his height. I actually felt sorry for him as the game went on. He is in the center of the picture below.

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Player of the game goes to Manhattan guard Zavier Turner. This 5′ 9″ dynamo guard was quicker than anyone else on the floor plus was accurate with his 3 pointers. He is from Indiana so you have to wonder how he ended up in Manhattan. He led all scorers with 26 points.

For those looking for a great place to eat in Brooklyn, check out Harvey’s End. We had excellent salmon and gnocchi. As a key lime connoisseur, I had my first taste of Persian Key lime pie. I am still thinking about it this morning.

Since this will be my last game of the year, happy holidays to all my friends and family!

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St. Francis (Brooklyn) (60) vs. Manhattan (71) 12/14/2015

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Here is a word of advice if you want to attend a game at the Draddy Gymnasium. Be prepared to climb a whole lot of stairs to get to the gym perched on a mountaintop. Well it seemed like a mountain. Also, do not be afraid to ask students where it is once you get on campus because it is difficult to find.

The gym is part of a large building that also holds track and other sporting venues. I wasn’t sure if I was walking into a basketball gym  because it looks like a huge field house. The basketball court is one area in the middle.

With attendance at 614 patrons, the building was not loud or enthusiastic except for the exception of the pep band playing some pretty good music. Both teams are mediocre this year so I don’t see any NCAA aspirations for either one.

The gym had a huge HDTV screen over the visitor’s bench detailing stats. That was a first for me.

Interesting to see that Manhattan had three players from Lagos, Nigeria with heights of 6’4″, 6’8″ and 6’10”. What do they feed those boys in Lagos? St Francis had two players from Iceland.

Before the game, I ate at the Bronx Alehouse on 238th St. It is a few steps from the subway stop. I had a New Holland Carhatt Woodsman (pale ale barrel aged) and a Victory Winter Cheers (winter white ale). The walk to the gym was no more than 10 minutes but I did ask the bartender if it was safe to walk. After looking  at the neighborhood, I was ready to kick in another $3 to go one subway stop up to 242nd St. He assured me  that it was okay and it was since I am alive this morning. Walking next to the Van Cordlandt park did make me a little uneasy walking in the dark with tall coop buildings all around me.

Stadium Journeys: http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/draddy-gymnasium-s554