Canisius basketball player ruled ineligible

Canisius freshman Jose Agosto, who signed a National Letter of Intent last April to join the men’s basketball team, has left the school permanently after being ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA.

Canisius was informed earlier this week that Agosto did not meet requirements the NCAA demands all student-athletes meet, which are different from the requirements needed for acceptance into the college. Though players are frequently ruled ineligible because their test scores (SAT, ACT) were too low, head coach Tom Parrotta said Agosto’s problem was with “core classes,” not test scores.

After being declared as a non-qualifier by the NCAA, Agosto was not able to receive his athletic scholarship. Faced with a full Canisius tuition bill, Agosto and his family decided it was in their best interest to leave the school.

“It’s one of those things that’s happened, and you deal with it and move on,” Parrotta said. “I would probably think about it differently if it was something in our control, but it’s just one of those NCAA things. They give us a final answer and we take it.

“A lot of times it’s out of your control. The NCAA rules on something, you say okay. What are you going to do?”

Parrotta said Agosto will probably play at a junior college and he doesn’t think there is any chance Agosto comes back to Canisius.

After falling into the NCAA’s three-week window for Clearing House review, Agosto was not allowed to participate in any team activity, even weight lifting. Parrotta and associate head coach Rob Norris were becoming worried for his development.

“It’s really, really put him in a position where he was falling further and further behind. He was probably a good redshirt candidate based on the people that we have here and based how the other kids have looked, the newcomers,” Parrotta said. “He was the normal freshman anyway, trying to get accustomed to things. So he just fell way, way, way behind.”

Agosto is originally from Puerto Rico and finished his high school in Tennessee. He has an aunt in Pennsylvania who drove to Buffalo to pick him up earlier this week, Parrotta said. Agosto declined an interview request Thursday.

The men’s basketball team will now have an extra scholarship it can use next season. Marial Dhal is the only senior who will graduate after this year, with Isaac Sosa forced to sit out this season after transferring from Central Florida.

Canisius only Big 4 basketball program meeting NCAA regulation

The NCAA released its Academic Progress Rate public report earlier this week, which listed the men’s basketball teams at Niagara, Buffalo and St. Bonaventure all to have APR levels below what it considers acceptable, as well as UB football.

Tom Parrotta and his group of seniors received national recognition for graduating with their Master's degrees in four years.

Instituted in 2005, the APR is a coarse measure of how many student-athletes are on track to graduate. As an attempt to hold institutions accountable as well as individuals, the NCAA punishes schools it grades below an acceptable score of 925. Repeat offenders can lose scholarships, practice time, playoff eligibility or, in a worst-case scenario, recognition as a Division I program.

Each player on a team can score two possible points, one for staying academically eligible and another for returning to school the following year (not transferring) — two key stats the NCAA sees as crucial to graduation rates. The scores for every member on the team are added up, and then divided by the number of possible points the team could have earned, yielding a percentage. The percentage is multiplied by 1,000 (lose the decimal point) to give the score. The 925 level means a team has earned 92.5 percent of the points it could possibly earn.

Joe Mihalich’s Purple Eagles, which scored a perfect 1,000 in 2008-09, dropped below the cutoff to 917 last year. NU will not be punished because the perfect score inflates its multi-year average to 929, just above the limit.

Reggie Witherspoon’s UB basketball team scored a deplorable 885 in 2009-10, the academic year this report was released for. The Bulls will not face penalty because their multi-year average is 943, still above the 925 level.

Down in Olean, the Bonnies came up short at 902, but will not be punished. They are still feeling the effects of the coaching change that brought in Mark Schmidt, when several players transferred out and brought Bona’s APR down to 826 in 2006-07. The school’s multi-year average is still below the limit at 894, but they have already been penalized for the 826 year and, according to a report, St. Bonaventure is within the parameters of a waiver it filed with the NCAA two years ago.

On Main Street, Tom Parrotta’s bunch made the grade with a 936 score, bringing the multi-year APR to 953. The Griffs have never missed the cut and, in fact, no Canisius team in any sport has ever fallen below the 925 limit.

UB football is in a similar situation to St. Bonaventure. Several players left following the departure of Turner Gill in 2010, but the large roster size in football allows the Bulls to absorb several losses. The 2009-10 APR was 918 but Jeff Quinn’s team will not be punished because its multi-year score is 930.

The ice hockey programs at Canisius and Niagara were both well above the limit (1,000 and 977, respectively), and all four women’s basketball programs scored very highly (UB, Canisius, Niagara: 1,000; St. Bonaventure: 981).

It should be noted that these scores say nothing about how well student-athletes are doing in the classroom, just that they remained eligible.

For more, check out the NCAA’s APR page yourself, here for the penalty breakdown, or here for more details on how the APR is calculated.

Canisius basketball announces nonleague schedule; four local teams on tap

The Canisius men’s basketball program has revealed this year’s schedule for nonconference games. The complete schedule will be made public when the MAAC announces this year’s conference schedule sometime later this month.

It’s an exciting lineup of games for the Griffs, who square off with four local teams this season as well as nationally ranked Syracuse University. 

While the true opening day for Canisius is Friday, November 12, the team has an exhibition game with D-III Buffalo State on Tuesday the 9th (7 p.m., Koessler Athletic Center).

After hosting the Bengals, the Griffs kick off the season with a men’s and women’s double-header at the KAC on Nov. 12. The men face WNY rival St. Bonaventure, while the women host Kent State. Start time for the men is listed at 8:30 p.m., but could potentially be altered by the women’s game, which starts at 6.

Sunday, Nov. 14 marks arguably the most hyped game of the year, as the Griffs travel to the Carrier Dome for a contest with national powerhouse Syracuse. Game time is set for 2 p.m.

The Blue and Gold continue their slate against local talent as they host the University at Buffalo on Tuesday, Nov. 23. Canisius knocked off the Bulls in last season’s meeting at UB, 73-71. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

The Griffs will also have at least two games this season with Niagara as part of their MAAC conference schedule. Game dates and times are TBA.

Canisius will once again participate in the ESPN BracketBuster series, which pits two schools against each other who would not typically meet. While head coach Tom Parrotta personally is not a fan of the BracketBuster games, his Griffs are 4-1 all-time in the series. In last year’s game, Canisius beat James Madison at home, so this year’s contest will be an away game. Opponent and date and TBA.

The rest of the nonconference schedule looks like this:

Home- Eastern Michigan, 11/20, 2 p.m.; St. Francis, 12/10, 7 p.m.; Northwestern State, 12/29, 7 p.m.
Road- Binghamton, 11/30, 7 p.m.; Northwestern State, 12/19, 5 p.m.; Lamar, 12/22, 8 p.m.

The road games at Northwestern State and Lamar are part of the team’s winter trip. The games will be played in Louisiana and Texas, respectively.

Ticket information can be found here. Home games are free to all students with a valid college ID.

Former Canisius College athletes ink professional deals

On any given weekend throughout the year, you’re bound to find college students across the country huddled together around the television, watching whatever sports game they can find. But here at Canisius, we never really planned on tuning into a game and hearing the broadcaster call a classmate’s name. 

Until now, that is. 

While most of us were off enjoying our summers (or working it away…), several former Golden Griffin athletes were busy signing contracts to play professionally. High profile athletes in their own right during their time at Canisius, Carl Hudson, Frank Turner and Steve McQuail, among several others, are making names for themselves in the pros. 

Hudson crunches Syracuse's Maksim Mayorov. The Panthers like his physical play.

Hudson, a senior defenseman for the hockey team last year, is playing for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. He began playing for the Amerks last spring following the conclusion of Canisius’ season. According to amerks.com, Hudson signed an amateur tryout contract with the Rochester Americans on March 26, 2010. He played seven games with Rochester at the end of the regular season and five more in the playoffs, picking up one assist and tallying 28 penalty minutes along the way. 

Rochester liked what they saw in Hudson, especially the physical aspect he brought to the team. Once the free agency period started this offseason, the Florida Panthers of the NHL signed the former Griff to a one-year, entry-level contract, which most likely keeps him with their minor league affiliate Rochester for another year. CapGeek.com reports the deal to be valued at up to $525,000. Hudson will be a restricted free agent when the contract expires. 

“Last season I had the fortunate opportunity of playing pro hockey in Rochester, which was a great experience,” said Hudson.  “I believe that having played a few games last year will really help me with the upcoming season since I know what to expect.” 

Hudson is the first Canisius player to sign with an NHL team.  “Canisius has really help[ed] me to mature both as a person and a hockey player, and for that I must thank everyone who I have been involved with over my four years at Canisius,” Hudson said. He hopes his signing will help attract recruits to the school. 

A four-year member of the Canisius men’s basketball team, Frank Turner is now playing professionally in Europe. On July 30, EiffelTowers Den Bosch announced they had signed the guard to a one-year deal. The club is a member of the Holland-Eredivisie, the top basketball league in the Netherlands. 

Turner drives to the hoop on an occasion when he seen without the iconic upside-down headband.

Turner is currently in his second week of preseason with the team, and says things are going well. “It took me a day to get adjusted with the difference between American and European players,” Turner said. “European players are more skilled and Americans depend more on their athleticism, so that was a big difference. 

“Another difference is practicing two times a day! The first week it had me a little exhausted but I am now adjusted and doing well.” 

Turner credits his time at Canisius with helping him make the transition smoothly. 

“Playing at Canisius helped me tremendously! Coach Parrotta and his staff prepared me very well with certain techniques and ideas of the game. My current coach here in Holland has the same philosophy offensively and defensively as the coaching staff at Canisius.” 

Turner added that this bodes well for the current Griffs, who are left in good hands. “Not only are the players prepared to dominate on both sides of the ball every night at Canisius, they are also being taught the professional game.” 

Turner was a two-time all-league selection and is the all-time games played leader in Canisius history. He also ranks fourth all-time in points and third in steals.  

McQuail makes running down a fly ball look easy with this catch near the wall

The baseball team had good news this offseason as well, when Steve McQuail was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the Major League Baseball Draft. A 30th round selection, McQuail is currently playing for the Auburn Doubledays, a Class A Short-Season affiliate of the Blue Jays who play in the New York-Penn League. 

Last year as a junior, McQuail led all Griffs with a .398 batting average and 20 home runs, and set a MAAC record with 81 RBIs. 

This year, the outfielder is currently hitting .252 with the Doubledays and has hit four homers through 38 games played. 

Several notable major leaguers began their careers in Auburn, such as Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Billy Wagner, Luis Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton, Julio Lugo, and Morgan Ensberg; as well as current Blue Jays like Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero, and John Buck, who was named to the American League All-Star team this year.  

Other members of last year’s hockey team continue to play after Canisius. Dave Cianfrini, Jason Weeks, Josh Heidinger and Andrew Loewen are all reported to be playing in mid-level professional leagues across the country, while Dave Kostuch (who holds dual citizenship with Canada and Poland) is giving up his final two years at Canisius to play for MKS Cracovia Krakow of the Polish Elite League. 


Links: 

-Amerks’ bio of Carl Hudson
-EiffelTowers press release on Turner, translated from Dutch.
-Auburn Doubledays’ bio of Stephen McQuail

This article is the original write-up of a similar story that appeared in The Griffin, August 27, 2010