An hour in the life of a crocus, a feast for insects

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog flying right useA honeybee covered in pollen flies from on 'Pickwick' crocus to another. Photos by Doug Oster

The warmth of the spring sun shining on a patch of 'Pickwick' crocuses unfurled their blossoms inviting a host of insects to feast on pollen and nectar.

There were European honeybees, native bees, flies, hoverflies and things I couldn't identify. Some would enter from the side, pushing through the purple striped petals. Others flew into the center, crawling around inside covering themselves with pollen. The tiny flowers vibrated until the insect flew off with its bounty.

It was amazing to see how many different insects were lured to the flowers.

It's a good lesson for us gardeners, to spend some time observing the garden. You might be surprised at what you see, I was.

blog antanea

Blog  fly on side

Blog bee poking head out

blog hover behind

Blog tight crocus bee inside

blog fly on crocus huverfly in background



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Blues - Blackhawks preview - 04-17-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Blues vs. Blackhawks

Blues Leading Regular Season Scorer: Alexander Steen (right), 62 points (33 goals, 29 assists).

Blackhawks Leading Regular Season Scorer: Patrick Sharp, 78 points (34 goals, 44 assists).

Blues Expected Starting Goaltender: Ryan Miller, 25-30-4, 2.64 GAA, .922 SV%.

Blackhawks Expected Starting Goaltender: Corey Crawford, 32-16-10, 2.26 GAA, .917 SV%.

Blues Regular Season Statistics

Blackhawks Regular Season Statistics

Blues Injuries: Centers David Backes ("lower body"), Patrik Beglund (shoulder), Vladimir Sobotka (undisclosed), left winger Brenden Morrow (foot) and right winger T.J. Oshie (head) are questionable. Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) is out.

Blackhawks Injuries: Center Jonathan Toews ("upper body") is probable. Right winger Patrick Kane (left leg) and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin (shoulder) are on injured reserve.

Blues with Stanley Cup bling: None.

Blackhawks with Stanley Cup bling: Bryan Bickell, LW; Brandon Bollig, LW; Sheldon Brookbank, D; Corey Crawford, G; Michal Handzus, C; Niklas Hjalmarsson, D; Marian Hossa RW; Patrick Kane, RW; Duncan Keith, D; Nikolai Khabibulin, G; Marcus Kruger, C; Nick Leddy, D; Johnny Oduya, D; Michal Rozsival D; Brandon Saad, LW; Brent Seabrook, D; Patrick Sharp, LW; Andrew Shaw, C; Ben Smith, RW; Jonathan Toews, C; Kris Versteeg, LW.

Something worthwhile about the Blues: The Blues had a penalty kill percentage of 85.7 percent this past regular season, best among any team in the postseason.

Something worthwhile about the Blackhawks: The Blackhawks had an average of 8.5 penalty minutes per game this regular season, lowest among any team in the postseason.

Something useless about the Blues that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson holds the Blues' record for most consecutive postseason shutouts. He had three straight shutouts against the Blackhawks a 2002 Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Blackhawks.

Something useless about the Blackhawks that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The postseason first hat trick scored against the Penguins was by Blackhawks left winger Bobby Hull in a 6-5 win by the Blackhawks in Game 4 of a 1972 quarterfinal series.

Former Penguins on the Blues: Ty Conklin, goalie development coach; Jordan Leopold, D; Brenden Morrow, LW.

Former Penguins on the Blackhawks: Dennis Bonvie, professional scout; Marian Hossa (right), RW; Norm Maciver, assistant general manager; Michal Rozsival, D.

Who needs to be the difference for the Blues: Ryan Miller. Throughout the history of the Blues, they have never truly had a franchise goaltender capable of carrying the team to the Stanley Cup. Miller was brought in to St. Louis to do that. Arguably, no player in the playoffs has higher expectations placed upon him.

Who needs to be the difference for the Blackhawks: Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson, etc. The Blues are an aggressive team on the forecheck and like to make life miserable for opposing defensemen. Chicago's battle-tested defensemen will need to withstand the constant assault they will be under in this series.

Best Blues YouTube Video We Could Find: Blues center Craig Janney scoring a series-clinching overtime goal in a 4-3 win against the Blackhawks in Game 4 of a 1992 Norris Division semifinal series:

Best Blackhawks YouTube Video We Could Find: Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews scoring a game-tying short-handed goal late in regulation in an eventual 2-1 loss to the Canucks in Game 7 of a 2011 Western Conference quarterfinal series:

EN Prediction: The Blackhawks' stars - Kane and Toews - are healed up from some injuries late in the regular season while the Blues are limping into the postseason with a handful of injuries. The Blackhawks will take advantage and move a step towards defending their title.

(Photos: Christian Petersen/Getty Images and Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - 04-17-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Playoff Stuff

-Dave Moinari's recap from last night's game. “They’re a good team. They play hard and they have a good goaltender. They’re a well-balanced team. And it’s going to be a tough series.” - Brandon Sutter.

-The Columbus Dispatch's recap. “I’ve seen him make that save 1,000 times. A thousand times. It’s one that got by him.” - Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on goaltender Sergei Bobovsky allowing a game-winning goal to Brandon Sutter.

-The Associated Press' recap. "We have to learn from it but we found a way to win. Obviously we didn't start the way we wanted, getting down two goals. I think we have to clean up some things." - Sidney Crosby.


-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-A good look at Sutter being stripped of a puck by Columbus' Fedor Tyutin on a breakaway against Bobrovsky:

-Happy times for Brooks Orpik and Brandon Sutter:

-Brooks Orpik doing his thing:

-A hockey night in Pittsburgh:

-Evgeni Malkin just hanging out:

-Kris Letang battled Columbus' Ryan Johansen for this puck:

-Tanner Glass was kind of spaced out here:

-Marc-Andre Fleury snagged this puck:

-Happy times for the Blue Jackets:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Fleury speaks:

-Matt Niskanen speaks:

-Sutter speaks:

-"It's not tough. Honestly, in the playoffs, you leave your ego at the door. Whatever happens, you're trying to get 16 wins. That's the end goal." - Beau Bennett on being moved from the first to the third line.

-"Right now, I guess the big question for me is, who's going to be the most unhappy when we go golfing the next time." - Dan Bylsma on his friendship with Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards.

-The Penguins assigned Chris Conner to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on a conditioning assignment.

We know their power play is dangerous. We have to make sure we stay disciplined. That’s the difference in the game.” - Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky on taking penalties.

-After the Jump: The Flyers will start the playoffs without their starting goaltender and a wild Game 1 between the Canadiens and Lightning.

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Re-examining preseason predictions for RMU

Written by Craig Meyer on .

Instead of doing a dry, standard and broad preview heading into the 2013-14 season, I opted to examine each Robert Morris player through a best-case and worst-case scenario. Simply, I wanted to look at the components of the team through two different lenses -- one being an ideal, if-everything-works-out-perfectly view and the other being a sort of Murphy's Law, everything-that-can-go-wrong-will way.

With the season having been over for about a month, I figured now would be a reasonable time to look back on those and see where each player ended up falling. At the end, I'll assign a grade based on how they performed relative to those expectations. If they exceeded the best-case scenario, they get an A. If they met it or come close to it, it falls in the B range. If they were somewhere in the middle, it's a C. If it's at the worst case or close to it, it's a D. If they somehow did worse than that, it's an F. And, given everything that happened this season, if they didn't really display enough to warrant a grade, it's an incomplete.

Naturally, the grading process is as arbitrary as it is for a college liberal arts professor, but such is the nature of the beast.

NOTE: I did not do entries on walk-ons Evan Grey and Shaire Tolson-Ford. Both were suspended for one year by the university back in January.




G Karvel Anderson

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: Anderson’s offensive rating last season put him among the top 100 players in Division I last season and it was the highest rating of an RMU player in the KenPom era (since 2003) that used 20 percent or more of the team’s possessions. That sort of efficient play continues and even with more shots and more attention from opposing defenses, he continues to shoot a similar percentage from three-point range. Not only does he stay healthy all year, but he leads the Colonials in scoring, makes first team all-NEC and is a strong contender for player of the year.

Worst case scenario: With Coron Williams, Russell Johnson and Velton Jones gone – all players that shot at least 34 percent from 3-point range – defenders can key in on Anderson, meaning he doesn’t get quite the same looks he did last year. He’ll still get his share of 3s, but he won’t shoot as well with more pressure and he’ll see his scoring take a dip. Also, coming off offseason surgery, his wrist will bother him and cause him to miss some time on the court.

What ended up happening: Reading back on that best-case prediction, it really seems like I sold him short, especially if we're working in an unrealistic realm where pretty much anything can happen. He improved in virtually every statistical category possible -- even in areas of strength like 3-point shooting -- while putting up unreal efficiency numbers and, most importantly, being a go-to scorer who could be counted on to push the team to a win when needed. Not only was he a strong contender for the NEC player of the year award, but he won it with little debate or protest. Anderson was named an honorable mention AP all-American and was as strong a representative of the program as one could probably ask for. I'd say that more than covers the best-case scenario. Grade: A

F Lucky Jones

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: If there’s a potential star on this team, it’s Jones. His numbers improved substantially from his freshman to sophomore year and now with Velton Jones gone, there’s a reasonable assumption that he will emerge as the team’s primary offensive threat. Not only will he be the team’s leading rebounder again (helping limit the burden off an already-thin front court), but he’ll also be the leading scorer as both a competent penetrator and a continued threat from 3-point range. Ideally, he’s a matchup nightmare who can stretch the court and create opportunities for his teammates. He’ll do just that in 2013-14 as he wins NEC player of the year.

Worst case scenario: As talented as Jones is, he has a tendency for some mental lapses in games and in practice (anyone that’s watched Andy Toole during an RMU practice can attest to the latter). Players come with different characteristics and not everyone has laser-like focus, but for someone with his sort of skill level, there will need to be some assertiveness if he hopes to make another jump from his sophomore to junior season. If that doesn’t happen, expect his stats to be down, leaving the Colonials partially devoid of their most dangerous offensive weapon. Also, he’ll clothesline 10 more players, get banned by the NCAA and embark on a pro wrestling career.

What ended up happening: I may have jumped the gun a year early on the Lucky-Jones-is-going-to-be-an-unquestioned-star thing. Jones was undoubtedly an excellent player this season, an extremely good No. 2 option, but he was just that -- a very strong player who wasn't quite the star that Karvel Anderson was. And that's no knock on Jones at all. What Anderson managed to accomplish this season was probably the best statistical season in Robert Morris' modern history and just because Jones wasn't able to stack up to a whimsical preseason projection doesn't mean he had a bad season. In fact, it was the opposite. While some of his offensive numbers went down -- field goal percentage, 3-point percentage -- perhaps nobody was more integral to the Colonials' undermanned success than Jones, particularly on the defensive end, where he often had to defend positions 1-5. This wasn't Jones' season to be a star, but after his performance in 2013-14, he's set himself in a position to be just that for Robert Morris in 2014-15. And, yes, I feel a little cheated that he didn't lay anyone out on an attempted layup this season. Grade: A-/B+

F Mike McFadden

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: The early reports on McFadden were that he looked much improved from last season and the exhibition game against California confirmed as much. That will carry over into the regular season as McFadden, no longer hampered by tendinitis in his knees, displays greater speed and athleticism. In turn, that gives RMU a consistent offensive presence on the low post, something that they, at least now, don’t obviously have. Healthy at last, he also improves drastically on his low rebounding numbers from last season. A spot on the all-conference team becomes a very real possibility.

Worst case scenario: Pretty much the opposite of the previous paragraph. After an offseason of rest and rehabilitation, the lingering injuries and pain begin to resurface, limiting his game and stripping him of the sort of leaping ability necessary to get points and grab rebounds down low. Without an effective McFadden, the RMU frontcourt, as a whole, is a liability throughout the season as the team becomes more one-dimensional than it was last year.

What ended up happening: This one definitely sided more toward the worst case. If it were just about his game, he would have been somewhere in the middle between the two scenarios, probably more toward the worst. His scoring numbers were the lowest in his Robert Morris career, his rebounding figures didn't improve much and he wasn't much of a noticeable presence on the low post. Of course, his on-court performance wasn't everything. McFadden missed the final 18 games of the season in what amounted to him leaving the team. The reasons for the move aren't entirely clear -- I've heard different things from different people -- but the nagging injuries seemed to at least play some part in it. Grade: Incomplete


G Anthony Myers-Pate

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: With just one year of eligibility left, I’m not exactly going out on a limb saying that Myers-Pate will never be the same kind of scoring threat his predecessor, Velton Jones, was. With that being said, I see some similarities between the two and much of that will translate to the court this season. Myers-Pate will be an active offensive presence, routinely setting his teammates up for easy baskets while limiting his mistakes. An even 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio is possible. He also improves his 25.4 percent clip from 3-point range last year, giving the team yet another outside threat.

Worst case scenario: For all the similarities he shares with Jones, there’s one clear difference between the two – Myers-Pate is not nearly as outgoing as Jones and at a position that requires constant communication, that could be a potential problem. He is not able to adjust to the role of being the team’s primary offensive catalyst and in the process, his turnover numbers increase. As he continues to struggle shooting from deep, he gradually loses minutes, and eventually his starting spot, to freshman Kavon Stewart.

What ended up happening: Like Anderson, I may have sold Myers-Pate short a bit when it comes to a best-case-scenario. Many of the things that I listed in that paragraph ended up coming true. He improved his 3-point shooting by six percent, he actually had better than a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (it was 2.18:1) and he was a a consistently reliable offensive presence for much of the season, one that routinely put his teammates in a position to excel. But it wasn't like that for the entire season. Myers-Pate was never a backup in the traditional sense of the word, but he took some time to adjust to his new role on the team as the go-to-guy at the point guard spot. That adjustment was reflected in some underwhelming offensive stats early in the season. That far from tells the full story for Myers-Pate, as he basically fulfilled his best-case scenario, but they were part of that story nonetheless. Grade: B


G David Appolon

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: Unlike others, I’m bullish on Appolon. He’s got a unique skill set that could ideally make him a poor man’s Lucky Jones by the end of the year. He’ll start to demonstrate that this season, first by showing effectiveness in limited minutes and later becoming an important piece in the team’s rotation. His poor shooting numbers from last season (32.5 percent on FGs, 22.9 percent on 3s) improve as he gives the team yet another matchup nightmare, along with Jones and Desjuan Newton, who can stretch the floor.

Worst case scenario: In simplistic terms, a continuation of what we saw last season. He shows no clear signs of improvement as a junior (a pivotal time for player growth), still looks lost at times on the court and eventually gets leapfrogged by newcomers like Newton, Charles Oliver and Britton Lee in the team’s rotation.

What ended up happening: Few people embodied the "excel when given the opportunity" mantra that helped define the Crazy Eight more than Appolon. I had always really liked his game, but there was little to back it up beyond a few anecdotal examples. He didn't get many minutes and in that limited time, he didn't really show anything that would possibly earn him a greater role on the team. Early in the season, that trend looked like it would continue, but when the team went down to eight players, the junior wing reinvented himself as a player and helped rejuvenate his career. A poor-man's Lucky Jones in some ways, Appolon was a versatile threat who could play a number of positions and come up with big plays in big moments. He's still not much of an outside threat (15.4 percent on 3s), but there's a fun stat that tells a lot about his development and greater role this season. In his first two years at Robert Morris, Appolon had 109 points total; this season, he scored 146. Grade: B+


C Stephan Hawkins

What I said in November:

Best case scenario: Hawkins is kind of the great “What if?” on the RMU team and this year, that potential-laden question gets answered pretty convincingly. The opportunity for increased minutes is there and the sophomore takes full advantage, showing an improved offensive game and remaining the team’s lone shot-blocking force. His length makes him, at worst, a great shot-altering presence and he manages to stay out of foul trouble while becoming the team’s leading rebounder. He starts to crack the starting lineup by season’s end and ends up averaging about 20 minutes per game.

Worst case scenario: When CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein visited RMU’s practice last week, Hawkins was one of the players that stood out to him, as he said the big man has “A-10 athleticism” is a “player to keep an eye on.” While Rothstein’s unflinching optimism admittedly can make him an easy punchline sometimes, he’s right on this – everything is there for Hawkins, but will he put it together? In this case, he doesn’t. Like he was in the exhibition, he looks lost on the court at times, continues to not pick up some of the game’s subtle nuances and get in foul trouble so early that he’s never able to get much time on the court. A lack of progress leaves the team relying heavily on its remaining bigs – McFadden, Jeremiah Worthem and Aaron Tate.

What ended up happening: I didn't outline much with Hawkins as far as production, but all in all, he performed pretty well. The minutes were there (he averaged just shy of 20 per game at 19.6) and for the most part, he took advantage of those minutes. His scoring numbers reflected that increase in playing time -- from 2.5 ppg in 11.5 mpg to 4.6 ppg in 19.6 mpg -- but his rebounding didn't improve all that much (from 2.2 to 2.9). In fact, when looking at offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, his numbers actually got worse. He's developed a very reliable mid-range jump shot that he uses effectively (and often), but he still needs to develop more of a back-to-the-basket game, something coaches will repeatedly tell you. It was a good-but-not-great season from the sophomore, but there were signs of improvement and at this point, that's probably the most important thing. Grade: C+



G Desjuan Newton

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: Junior college guys can be a mixed bag – sometimes they’re underappreciated assets, other times they were playing at that level for a reason – but a few guarantees come with Newton. Mainly, he’s athletic as all hell, evidenced by some of the dunks he’s pulled off both in the Greentree summer league and in practice. He uses that to full advantage, becoming a dynamic offensive threat who can penetrate and create his own shot, something last year’s team was largely missing. Also, regardless of how he does, Newton will be the most entertaining player on the team.

Worst case scenario: The transition to the D-I game can be tricky for some JuCo guys – for every Karvel Anderson, there are countless others that didn’t make it – and Newton shows that. His athleticism is still there, but he’s erratic and turns the ball over often. He never really finds his shot, making him somewhat of an offensive liability and in what should be a crowded backcourt, he sees his minutes diminish.

What ended up happening: When he was playing, Newton was pretty much an embodiment of the worst-case scenario or in the ballpark of earning a D in this exercise. It wasn't that he was bad, but he simply didn't do enough on the court to justify getting significant playing time. After playing a decent amount in the Colonials' first nine games, Newton saw his minutes decrease drastically and soon enough, he temporarily left the team, an absence that ended up becoming permanent as he would not play the rest of the season. He has since been granted his release from the program. Grade: Incomplete

F Aaron Tate

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: I promise I’m not trying to make too much out of a meaningless game, but Tate started the exhibition last week for a reason. Early on, he’s proven something to coaches and he shows that once the season begins, instantly becoming a reliable force on the low block by collecting rebounds for a team that will need them. By the time conference play starts, he solidifies his status as the starting power forward, which is really the only position still in question at this point.

Worst case scenario: Tate’s on the smaller end for a power forward – standing 6-foot-5 – and it shows as he’s not able to carve out the necessary space against taller players with Division I experience. It has probably become pretty obvious at this point, but with only four traditional big men (for, theoretically, two spots), the Colonials will need contributions from almost all of them or they will have to go extended stretches of the game playing small. Thus, if Tate doesn’t produce, that aspect of the team’s game will suffer.

What ended up happening: Tate wasn't much of an offensive threat and with the way his game is, it likely won't ever be that way. But the beauty of it is that he doesn't have to be. He began the year as a starter, eventually lost the spot to Jeremiah Worthem and once Worthem was suspended, he reassumed that role. Tate's something of a junkyard dog, the kind of player who doesn't do anything flashy or noticeable, but he fulfills a necessary and important niche -- the rebounder and essential glue guy. Tate's 4.4 rebounds per game were second on the team and he was the only RMU player to rank in the top 400 players nationally in offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. Grade: B-

G Charles Oliver

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: The addition of Oliver came with pretty clear intentions. With Coron Williams off to Wake Forest, the team needed a traditional shooting guard who could replace Williams’ production from beyond the arc. He shot 44.9 percent from 3-point range in junior college and that figure is able to translate to Robert Morris, where he is able to get enough open looks. The team doesn’t miss a beat with the loss of Williams and, best of yet, Oliver has two years of eligibility remaining (unlike Williams, who would have been a senior).

Worst case scenario: Conventional wisdom (and Norman Dale) would tell you that the dimensions of a basketball court are the same at all college levels and, thus, a shooter’s effectiveness should remain the same. But, for whatever reason, that doesn’t prove to be the case with Oliver, as his shot falls flat. On average, he misses more than one out of every 3s he attempts, taking away the biggest strength of his game and planting him behind the likes of Newton, Stewart and Lee.

What ended up happening: Oliver's the only guy on the Robert Morris team that has ever interviewed me for a paper for a communications class, so I'm predisposed to like him. Like a lot of players on the team, he fell somewhere between the best and worst-case scenarios. He averaged just about 15 minutes per game, so it wasn't like he was a major piece to the team, but he was productive in those minutes, averaging 6.3 points per game. Largely a 3-point specialist (106 of his 188 field goal attempts came from beyond the arc), Oliver shot well at the beginning of the season, but tailed off as it went on, missing 25 of his final 29 3-point attempts. While he wasn't anything outstanding, Oliver did what he needed to do and should only improve next season as a potential starter. Grade: B-



F Jeremiah Worthem

Best case scenario: Worthem is being talked about like a potential NEC rookie of the year and there’s plenty of reason for that. He would fit almost seamlessly into the vacant power forward position and with a relative lack of numbers down low, the opportunity for big minutes is there. Anyone that saw games at Greentree this summer knows just how good he can be. Albeit as a freshman, he makes good on that, averaging double figures in points, becomes the team’s leading rebounder and shows an above-average outside shot that will draw larger players out to the perimeter and open things up down low.

Worst case scenario: It’s dicey to do this kind of exercise with freshmen. Odds are, they aren’t going to emerge as a star immediately, especially on a team with a pretty established starting lineup, and if they don’t do well or don’t play much, it’s largely because they’re freshmen. There’s a grace period to learn the game and get acclimated to it; sometimes, that takes a full season. But if Worthem doesn’t become a consistent contributor down low, it will be a disappointment and something that could hinder the team’s overall balance and depth.

What ended up happening: Well, a lot happened. For the time that he did play, Worthem looked liked a walking iteration of what many ideally projected him to be. He was a bruising inside presence who had the ability to stretch the floor and get looks from the outside. Averaging about eight points and four rebounds per game, he won NEC rookie of the week numerous times and figured to be a strong contender for the conference's rookie of the year award. Of course, that's not how everything ultimately played out. Along with three teammates, Worthem was suspended in January for a non-criminal violation of university policy, the kind of offense that carries a mandatory one-year suspension from the university. It's unclear whether Worthem will ever return to the program -- of the four, he has the best shot to, but I still don't think it's all that likely -- and based on some of the glimpses he was able to show as a freshman, that's too bad for the Colonials. Grade: Incomplete.


G Kavon Stewart

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: I’ve got a theory that everything a left-handed basketball player does looks smoother. I have no clue why this is, but that’s just always how it looks. Maybe that’s what’s at play with Stewart, but from what I’ve seen of him, there’s just a smooth, calm demeanor to Stewart’s game, something you don’t often see from a freshman. He will begin the year as the backup point guard and will gradually see his minutes increase as he creates plays and, most importantly for a young player, doesn’t turn the ball over. By the end of conference play, he’ll be starting, which won’t be a product of poor play from Myers-Pate – rather, it will just be impossible to keep him off the court. Averaging double figures in points and about 3.5 assists per game, he wins the NEC rookie of the year.

Worst case scenario: Stewart has a problem common to many freshman point guards – turning the ball over – that limits his playing time and forces RMU to shuffle other players like Lee and Newton into the backup point guard role.

What ended up happening: Stewart was as electric of a playmaker as there was on the Colonials last season and that was just in his first season of college basketball. At pretty much any moment, especially in NEC play, he's the fastest player on the court and can get to the basket with relative ease. His assist rate of 25.7 (187th among DI players) is more than a little promising. But there are also some downsides that sometimes limited that playmaking ability. He didn't shoot the ball particularly well this season, making only 40.6 percent of his attempted field goals, including a horrid 41.4 percent clip on 2-pointers. Theoretically, that should improve with time, as should his average of two turnovers per game. There's a lot to be learned after a freshman season and if Stewart does, he could become something truly special. Grade: B


G Britton Lee

What I said back in November:

Best case scenario: For whatever reason, Lee seems to be the freshman who gets overlooked, despite shooting 53.7 percent for a Philadelphia high school that went 26-3 last year. Though it’s hard to imagine that kind of a mark translating to the college level for a freshman guard, Lee shoots well enough to become a fixture in the RMU rotation at the 2 spot and even gets some time at point guard, where he also excels. He won’t start by the end of the year, but he’ll be averaging around 15 minutes per game.

Worst case scenario: Again, the worst case for a freshman is usually a shortage of playing time and a lack of anything eye-popping in limited minutes. That will be the case with Lee as he struggles to get on the floor in what will be a pretty crowded backcourt.

What ended up happening: Even prior to his suspension, Lee was averaging just 3.3 points per game and interestingly enough, he never actually scored a point in his Robert Morris career, assuming that he won't be coming back even when the ban is done. Lee was on the trajectory of the worst-case scenario and that was before he was suspended along with three other teammates. Grade: Incomplete


Craig Meyer: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG


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Rangers - Flyers preview - 04-17-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Rangers vs. Flyers

Rangers Leading Regular Season Scorer: Martin St. Louis, 69 points (30 goals, 39 assists).

Flyers Leading Regular Season Scorer: Claude Giroux, 86 points (28 goals, 58 assists).

Rangers Expected Starting Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist, 33-24-5, 2.36 GAA, .920 SV%.

Flyers Expected Starting Goaltender: Ray Emery, 9-12-2, 2.96 GAA, .903 SV%.

Rangers Regular Season Statistics

Flyers Regular Season Statistics

Rangers Injuries: Center Derick Brassard (back) and defenseman Ryan McDonagh (shoulder) are probable. Left winger Ryan McDonagh (shoulder) is out.

Flyers Injuries: Defenseman Nicklas Grossman (ankle) is probable. Right winger Steve Downie ("upper body") is doubtful. Goaltender Steve Mason ("upper body") is out. Defenseman Chris Pronger (concussion) is on injured reserve.

Rangers with Stanley Cup bling: Brad Richards, C; Martin St. Louis, RW.

Flyers with Stanley Cup bling: Ray Emery, G; Hal Gill, D; Vincent Lecavalier, C; Chris Pronger, D.

Something worthwhile about the Rangers: The Rangers had the best penalty killing percentage of any Eastern Conference team in the postseason this past regular season at 85.3 percent.

Something worthwhile about the Flyers: The Flyers have lost eight consecutive road games against the Rangers.

Something useless about the Rangers that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The only people to coach the Penguins and Rangers in a postseason game are Herb Brooks and Craig Patrick.

Something useless about the Flyers that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Flyers center Rick MacLeish is the Flyers' all-time leader in game-winning postseason goals with 10.

Former Penguins on the Rangers: Daniel Carcillo, LW (Carcillo is a former Penguins draft pick but never played for the organization at the NHL level); Rick Kehoe, professional scout; Dominic Moore, C; Ulf Samuelsson, assistant coach; Glen Sather, general manager.

Former Penguins on the Flyers: Hal Gill, D; Adam Hall, RW; Joe Mullen, assistant coach; Kjell Samuelsson, player development.

Who needs to be the difference for the Rangers: Andrew MacDonald, Kimmo Timonen (right), Mark Streit, Braydon Coburn, etc. With the Flyers turning to backup goaltender Ray Emery, the Flyers' defense needs to make life easier on him.

Who needs to be the difference for the Flyers: Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Marc Staal, etc. The Flyers are loaded up front. The Rangers' blue line needs to limit the damage from the likes of Flyers forward Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Scott Hartnell.

Best Rangers YouTube Video We Could Find: Rangers left winger Esa Tikkanen's series-clinching overtime goal in a 3-2 win against the Panthers in Game 5 of a 1997 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series:

Best Flyers YouTube Video We Could Find: Flyers right winger Joffrey Lupul series-clinching overtime goal in a 3-2 win against the Capitals in Game 7 of a 2008 Eastern Conference semifinal series:

EN Prediction: Given the Flyers' rotten recent history at Madison Square Garden, an injury to the steady Steve Mason is the last thing they needed. Henrik Lundqvist will give the Rangers a series win. Rangers 4-2.

(Photos: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images and Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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