Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Friday, April 30, 2010

CAA's Delle Donne and Evans Still Making News

By Mel Greenberg

The Guru's day on Thursday was highlighted by lunch with two former editor/bosses at The Inquirer -- John V.R. Bull, who oversee the Guru's work as a newsroom liason to the Knight-Ridder-Tribune News Wire, now known as the McClathey Survice, and Bob Greenberg -- no relation -- who worked with the Guru in the features/entertainment section.

Friday's meal of the day is tentatively schedule with men's hoops Guru Dick Weiss, aka Dickie Hoops, of the New York Daily News who was a classmate back in the day at Temple.

As for some news of the day out of two Colonial Athletic Association schools -- freshman Elena Delle Donne highlighted Delaware's postseason banquet while Evans will receive a special honor Friday on campus at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

Here's the top of the release from Delaware

NEWARK, Del. – Freshman Elena Delle Donne was awarded the Blue Hen Basketball Club Outstanding Achievement and the Team Most Valuable Player Awards at the annual University of Delaware Women’s Basketball Banquet held Thursday night at the Executive Banquet & Conference Center in Newark.

Additionally, Blue Hen sophomore Kayla Miller received the Joyce Perry Coaches’ Award, while freshmen Jaquetta May and Danielle Parker shared Most Improved Player accolades.

Delle Donne averaged 26.7 points per game, good for third most in the nation, and 8.8 boards, while collecting 12 double-doubles on the season to lead the Blue Hens as UD finished the year at 21-12 overall.

Delaware received a berth to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament and hosted a first round game, but fell to the visiting Richmond Spiders, 67-49, on March 18 to end the Hens’ season.

Delle Donne finished the season with a record-setting 774 points and broke 13 Delaware records, while setting a new single-season scoring record in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Her season was highlighted by a 54-point performance at James Madison on Feb. 18 when the rookie shot 18-for-28 from the floor and an astounding 7-for-8 from beyond the arc.

Receiving a slew of post-season awards, Delle Donne was Delaware’s first All-American in program history as she was named to the Associated Press Third Team and was a WBCA State Farm Honorable Mention All-American.

Evans Becomes an Abassador at James Madison

The Guru first learned of this event several days ago from the Philadelphia-based organization doing the presentation but had been tied up in ongoing transitional matters related to his departure from The Inquirer.

Since James Masdison has already posted the news in advance, here is a copy of that report off the athletic department web site.

HARRISONBURG, Va., April 28, 2010 -- A news conference is scheduled for Friday, April 30 at JMU to announce that women's basketball player Dawn Evans (Clarksville, Tenn./Northeast) is joining Alonzo Mourning, Herschel Walker and Jesse Jackson, Jr., as an ambassador for The NephCure Foundation.

As an ambassador, the Dukes' junior guard will help to raise awareness of the non-profit organization's work combating the kidney diseases FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis) and Nephrotic Syndrome (NS).

The Philadelphia-based NephCure Foundation funds research into the disease, for which there is no cure.

Evans, who was diagnosed with FSGS in December, averaged a school-record 24.6 points and ranked fifth in NCAA Division I in scoring in 2009-10.

She earned Associated Press All-America honorable mention and was voted the Most Outstanding Player of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

Evans helped lead the Dukes to a 26-7 record, the CAA championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

She recently was named the recipient of the CAA's John H. Randolph Inspiration Award, which recognizes individuals who "through strength of character and human spirit serve as an inspiration to all to maximize their potential and ability for success.

"The NephCure Foundation (http://www.nephcure.org/?DB_OEM_ID=14400) serves as a resource for families dealing with kidney diseases and funds research seeking treatment and a cure.

In just the past three years, NephCure has dedicated more than $6 million towards research and works with the National Institutes of Health on newly-funded clinical studies.

FSGS is the second-leading cause of kidney failure in children and is eight-times more prevalent in the African-American community.

That's it for this report. The Guru plans to be in casino-land perhaps as early as Monday for Tuesday morning's WNBA exhibition between the host Connecticut Sun and Atlanta Dream.

-- Mel

Thursday, April 29, 2010

WNBA: Philly Accent In Lynx Land

By Mel Greenberg

In light of the way the auction of The Inquirer went, the Guru is now being cited for "good timing" in getting off the ship last week, though he actually has a past friendship with former publisher Bob Hall, who is with the senior lenders that won the bid.

Meanwhile, as the Guru slips steadily into the WNBA training camp flow, he checked up on his two Philly peeps in Minnesota -- new Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, the former La Salle star from South Jersey, and rookie draft pick Gabriella Marginean out of Drexel.

"I'm loving every minute of it," Reeve said of running her own ship in the Twin Cities after assistant stints with past WNBA champion Detroit and Charlotte, two teams that no longer exist.

"Of course, I also loved it as a head coach of Indiana State," Reeve said.

She does have some nostalgic memories, however.

"I miss being around Bill (Laimbeer, the former Shock coach/GM), and Rick (Mahorn, who succeeded Laimbeer) and interacting with all those players," Reeve said.

Laimbeer is still nearby as an assistant on the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves.

As for Marginean, Reeve said, "As like any rookie, it's a learning experience but a good experience for her no matter what happens. The defensive drills are a little more challenging but we'll have a better idea in Friday's exhibition game.

"She seems to be enjoying it although she's a little quiet around the players," Reeve said.

That was no surprise to the Guru. The native of Romania was one tough interview as a freshman, but by her senior year when Marginean became the all-time women's scorer at Philadelphia area universities, the nickname "Gabby" was appropriate to her personality as well as her first name.

Meanwhile, a check of the traffic flow seems that many of you are quickly finding your way over here after the move on Tuesday back to the site.

And speaking of a real retirement, the Guru wishes longtime friend Langston Rogers well on his exit Friday from Mississippi after years as the top sports information director for the Rebels.

The Guru first met Rogers when the Guru was relatively new to women's hoops and Rogers with the head PR guy for Delta State, then the national arch-rival of Immaculata.

Yes, it wasn't always UConn-Tennessee.

There are colorful stories during Rogers' stint in Cleveland, Miss., but that is for another time and day.

For now, the Guru will sign out and return in another 24 hours with more.

-- Mel

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guru Welcomes You Back To The Future

By Mel Greenberg

Hello everyone. In light of the Tuesday auction of The Philadelphia Inquirer and most of the farewells out of the way, this is as good a time as any, to switch addresses and move forward into the summer.

There will be one more elongated post of rembrances at The Inky at the end of the transition period since many stories had to be omitted at the newsroom party for the Guru so the brisket and corn beef would remain warm for the sandwiches.

This note has been written as an update and so everyone can adjust links, for now, to this site again. If you want to go connect to Guru blog archives at the Inquirer, then just create a new name for go.philly.com/womhoops.

Again, to repeat, the retirement was only about being on the daily payroll of The Inquirer, not giving up women's basketball coverage to watch the lawn being mowed, etc.

If anything, the summer will now see the Guru around the WNBA more -- not less -- in 2010.

Therefore, no valedictory speeches to women's hoops -- only to what had been achieved covering women's hoops as well as other functions in The Inquirer.

This blog, back at the original address, may only be housed here temporarily and some of the team members listed have moved on.

Depending on what happens down the road, it could again resurface under the Philly.com umbrella although I suspect some links may show up from there, if allowable, for newsworthy Guru info.

If any tekkies out there want to check in, the Guru did purchase the domain melgreenberg.com and some associated domains from godaddy.com but doesn't know what to do with them yet.

There has been some discussions on writing out of the Women's Hall of Fame site, since the Guru is a member and a link exists anyway but that's still a deliberation on all sides.

And there are a few people with project ideas.

Basically, the Guru is a free agent, though the word free should be tempered somewhat to keep summer travel funds, minial that they need to be, healthy. The three-city tour, not counting breaking news elsewhere, involves train tickets, tanks of gas, and, in the case of the Connecticut Sun a reasonable hotel room, which the Guru often finds.

Because you come for the Guru words, not site appearance, bear with him until he gets into something more manageable and refined.

All ideas and discussions welcomed.

The twitter remains at @womhoopsguru and unfortunately/fortunately the Guru does exist on facebook.

The inky email has finally been restored but that is for a brief three-week period so all of you should be using the other accounts, all of which will get to the Guru's blackberry.

I think that is it for now.

Thanks for everything in the past and get ready to move forward in the future, the way we always have.

-- Mel (who hopes this posts and you all have found your way here again)