April 21, 2010

McLeod takes over at New Jersey hoops power

MORE: Recruiting's last stop: It's not high school, but it's not college

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 to the Division I ranks - including one (the Nuggets' J.R. Smith) to the NBA.

This year's team went 20-1 and finished No. 5 in the final RivalsHigh Top 100 boys basketball rankings.

St. Benedict's loses five seniors, including Aaron Brown (Temple), Gilvydas Biruta and Mike Poole, but it returns two stars: Arizona-bound junior forward Sidiki Johnson and Texas-bound junior guard Myck Kabongo.

"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, elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame earlier this month.

"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," Hurley said.

McLeod said he already had received hundreds of calls from parents and guardians interested in sending their players to St. Benedict'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. Benedict'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."

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