Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Wolff’

O’Brien touches down in the Ukraine

Thursday, September 12th, 2013


(Zaporozhye, Ukraine) — As soon as Jake O’Brien disembarked from his plane, it was apparent to the former Boston University forward that he was worlds away from his native New England.

“Very few people here speak English, and the ones that do can barely speak it,” said O’Brien, sitting in his apartment in Zaporozhye, an industrial city on the banks of the Dnieper River. Taking a breather from training camp with Ferro-ZNTU Zaporozhye, a team in the Ukrainian Superleague with whom he will begin his professional career, O’Brien reflected on the drastically different landscape from life in Boston.

“It’s kind of weird… [They’re] definitely 20-plus years behind as far as buildings, cars – just the overall landscape,” said O’Brien.

The last year has been a whirlwind journey for O’Brien, who was supposed to spend his entire career in Boston – punctuated by leading his hometown Terriers to the bright lights of the Big Dance – only to have fate get in the way.

A near career-ending injury, two surgeries, four college coaches, a post season ban, a transfer, and a graduate degree later, O’Brien finally can bask in his memory of the grand stage of the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely gotta’ remind myself how fortunate I am,” reflected O’Brien. (more…)

Rivalry Renewed: America East alums Dane DiLiegro and John Holland take their competition, friendship, to the world stage.

Monday, November 5th, 2012

John Holland is playing in the Spanish ACB League, widely regarded as the top domestic league in the world outside of the NBA.

The America East season may not begin until Albany tips off against Duquesne on Friday, November 9th at 6:30 pm, but two days earlier, an America East rivalry will be renewed. Only this time, instead of the dirty orange light of the glorified high school gymnasiums of the AE, it will be played under the bright lights of the world stage.

Nearly five years ago, on cold Boston night in January of 2008, two unheralded freshmen took the floor in an empty Case Gymnasium. Half a decade, over 3,600 miles, and an ocean away from their first encounter, former University of New Hampshire Wildcat Dane DiLiegro and former Boston University Terrier John Holland will face off again Wednesday night; the tenth time in their careers that they have gone head-to-head, but the first time as professionals.

Holland and DiLiegro will be playing in the Eurocup, a transnational professional basketball league — second only to the prestigious EuroLeague — comprised of top teams from the top leagues in Europe. DiLiegro will be taking the floor for Banco Di Sardigna Sassari of the Italian SerieA League, the top league in Italy and one of the top domestic leagues in the world outside of the NBA. Holland will be suiting up for Cajasol Banca Civica Sevilla of the Spanish ACB League, the top league in Spain and arguably the top domestic league in the world after the NBA.

“Its unbelievable being able to play against him again,” said DiLiegro excitedly while relaxing in Sassari, a city that sits on the northwest coast of the island of Sardigna, Italy. “I’m hoping that maybe I can get the opportunity to make him miss a free throw by making him laugh or something.”

“It’s going to be really fun to compete against him again.” said Holland, enjoying some down time in Sevilla, a city that sits on the Guadalquivir River in Spain. “I always admire his energy.” (more…)

Video of the Day: The Air Up There

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The One-Bid Wonders Video of the Day is a recurring segment that runs whenever OBW creator Sam Perkins has some down time and the free time to go through his America East video archives. Today’s video is a compilation of dunks and highlights of former Boston University guard Matt Turner (1999-2004). Turner is the subject of an upcoming Rufus Wrinklecap/One-Bid Wonders documentary entitled “Life after Love [of the Game].”

Matt Turner was the most explosive athlete that I have ever seen play in the America East. In all likelihood, he is the most physically gifted basketball player to ever suit up for the Terriers and most the athletic (as far as run and jump explosive ability) player to ever come through the conference.

I grew up watching the Lou Roe, Marcus Camby and John Calipari-led Refuse to Lose Minutemen of the 1990’s play against the best basketball teams in the country, and I had never before seen a player quite like Matt Turner. I don’t think I will ever see another like him again.

That may sound like hyperbole or exaggeration, it’s not: Turner was the most freakish of freak athletes.

Going, going, gone! Pat Chambers leaves for Penn State, greener pastures after just two seasons at BU

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Two years ago, Boston University hired a 37 year old upstart without much of a resume as its head coach, announcing Villanova associate head coach Patrick Chambers as the successor to Dennis Wolff. From day one, Chambers brought energy and enthusiasm to an apathetic fan base while rejuvenating a deflated squad, pledging a sense of family and a commitment to the program. After leading the Terriers through a surprising charge through the America East Tournament, reaching the America East Championship game – the doorstep of the NCAA Tournament – during his first season at the helm, Chambers led the Terriers to the NCAA during his sophomore campaign.

In his first two years, Chambers compiled a 42-28 (.600) overall record and a 23-9 (.719) mark in league action. In the months of February and March, he was 21-4 (.840). After leading the Terriers to the semifinals of the 2010 CBI tournament and the second round of the 2011 NCAA’s, he was rewarded with a contract extension and bump in pay.

Less than three months later, he was gone. Far sooner than anyone expected, Chambers moved onward and upward from the America East, taking the head coaching position at Penn State vacated by Ed DeChellis. (more…)

Morris for 3

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Of all the former America East players suiting up amongst the ranks of professional ball, Tyler Morris (Boston University ‘10) certainly didn’t play at the highest level this past season, nor did he put up the biggest numbers. But few players have fought as hard, or as through as much on-the-court adversity as Morris to simply set foot on the court. And on Tuesday, Morris hit what was arguably the biggest shot by any former AE-er in 2011, banking in a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer of game six of the Romanian A Division Championship, breaking what was a 61-61 and giving his club, U Mobitelco Cluj Napoca, a 64-61 win and the league title.

“That shot was crazy dawg,” says former Albany Great Dane Levi Levine, who spent the past season competing in the same league as Morris and who was watching the championship game on TV in Romania. “I’m out here so I saw it when it happened on TV and I was about to run around the house!”

That Morris even had the ball in his hands with a championship game on the line was an improbable story in itself. A few short months ago, simply playing professional basketball seemed like a pipe dream to Morris.

To say it has been a roller-coaster career may be an understatement. (more…)

Breaking News: Dennis Wolff reportedly hired as new head coach of Virginia Tech Women’s team

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Hot of the rumor mill: Several sources close to the situation spoken to One-Bid Wonders on the condition of anonymity and indicated that former Boston University Terrier head coach Dennis Wolff has a new head coaching gig, as he has reportedly been hired as the head coach of the Virginia Tech Women’s basketball team. This has not been confirmed from official channels (and there would not be an official press release until after the end of the women’s season), however, it has been reported to OBW by several VERY credible sources.

Wolff was fired from his head coaching position at Boston University on March 11, 2009. In fifteen seasons at BU, he became the program’s all-time leader in wins, compiling a 247 and 197 record while leading the Terriers to 2 NCAA appearances and 3 NIT’s. Wolff was succeeded by current Terriers head coach Pat Chambers. After spending the 2009-2010 season out of basketball, he spent the past season as the Director of Basketball Ops for the men’s team at Virginia Tech.

The women’s head coaching position at Virginia Tech became available after former head coach Beth Dunkenberger resigned on March 14, following seven seasons as the Hokies head coach.

The Last Dance: Almost a decade later, the bright lights of “The Big Dance” are still fresh in the minds and hearts of former Terriers

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

On Saturday at noon, the Boston University Terriers will host the America East championship game, with a win sending BU to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. As the Terriers tip off against Stony Brook, a different group of Terriers will tune in from around the globe and remember their own run to the title.

The current Terriers’ journey, albeit somewhat less dramatic than the 2002 title run, shares many similarities with the events of nine seasons ago. Both teams had to pull together to overcome injuries to crucial players. Both teams went into the America East Tournament hot, riding win streaks. Both were No. 2 seeds in the America East Tournament and had to survive hard-fought battles against Hartford to reach the championship game. And both were able to host the championship game after No. 1 Vermont was upset by an upstart No. 5 seed.

During the 2001-2002 season, the Terriers went into the America East Tournament riding a seven-game winning streak. BU had won a share of the regular season title and eclipsed the 20-win mark for the first time since 1997. The 2002 Terrier run culminated with a 66-40 massacre of No. 5 Maine and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

It was the last time a BU squad has gone dancing. (more…)

Rashad Bell is Hungary, Muhammad El-Amin might be starving

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Two familiar faces to America East fans have been taking the court in the Hungarian A Division, as former “AE” stars Rashad Bell and Muhammad El-Amin are both lacing them up in Hungary’s top league. However, while both Bell (BU ’05) and El-Amin (Stony Brook ’10) are competing against each other in the same league, they couldn’t be further apart in their respective careers, or on the basketball totem pole.

El-Amin, the 2010 America East Player of the Year, signed with PVSK Pannonpower Pecs Panthers for his first season of professional ball after graduating this summer. Bell is suiting up for league power MJUS-Fortress Kormend, having returned to Hungary – a league he spent two seasons playing in earlier in his career – after a season making huge bucks playing in South Korea.

There are a host of misconceptions that America fans have about basketball in Europe. I could write a book on the subject, but let it suffice to say that not all European leagues are created equal and not all teams in the same league play on the same playing field. (more…)

What the America East is to… Jerome Graham

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Editor’s note: This is the first of an ongoing One-Bid Wonders feature in which former America East athletes, coaches, and personalities reflect on their time in the “AE”.

Jerome Graham, Forward, Boston University 1998-2002:

The experiences I had while attending Boston University and playing basketball in America East have been the highlight of my life! Earning my Bachelors of Science from a prestigious school such as BU is a dream come true for me and my family. Being in the atmosphere of so many great minds and in a city where academics are valued immensely helped me grow and gave me inspiration to follow my dreams.

The America East is a highly competitive conference, and it was both exciting and beneficial for me to have the opportunity to play with and against some of the toughest players in the country. I’m very thankful for all my great teammates, friends, trainers, academic advisors, coaches, and professors who impacted my life positively. I love the city of Boston; my home away from home. (more…)

Far from the spotlight, a decades-long rivalry still burns bright

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

“This was a great city rivalry,” remarked an exhausted but still excited Boston University head coach Pat Chambers following the Terriers 66-64 loss to cross-town rival Northeastern. “It’s a big-city battle. With these guys it usually comes down to the last possession.”

The Terriers and Huskies are far removed from the national spotlight. Their games are often played for rows of empty seats. But what the national audience has been missing is one of the most intense and historic college basketball rivalries around. (more…)