St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley, whose team is recently without a gym for practice and home games, joked that he and water don’t mix well these days.
Not only has the Community Education and Recreation Center in Jersey City been ruined by $160,000 worth of damage, Hurley's home was badly affected by a sprinkler system. The Naismith Hall of Famer said tenants above he and his family's condo set their Christmas tree on fire and the water seeped into his area, causing walls and ceilings to require replacing.
And let’s just say the NBA isn’t high on Hurley’s list of favorites either.
After the eighth-ranked Friars blew by No. 12 Roselle Catholic 80-57 at Saint Peter’s College on Wednesday night, Hurley emphatically expressed his disappointment in the organization, which nixed a potential deal for his team to practice at the Nets' facility.
“We have a gym filled with water. Now, two and half weeks later, bubbles are appearing all over the court... We are now traveling around, day to day, looking for a place. Jersey City schools have been very good.
“I reached out to the Nets and spoke to assistant G.M. Bobby Marks; Bobby’s been helpful over the years getting us in. But the NBA’s position on this is that they didn’t want to let us in there because it would set a precedent. And I guess the precedent would be helping someone who needs help.”
Hurley continued, “If you want to put that on, I’d be happy being quoted on that. Every time you read one of those 'NBA Cares', and you see a photo op, this is one that’s going to backfire. Admittedly, there’s nobody in the building from 3 o’clock on. No one. We’d go in there with full supervision, like we have in the past, only on occasion. I’m very disappointed in whatever member of the millionaires club decided that reaching down to scholastic ranks would be setting a bad precedent.”
St. Anthony was impressive against talent-laden Roselle Catholic, which entered the game as a favorite. After all, the Friars were just days removed from surrendering a 21-2 run in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s blowout loss to Bishop Loughlin in the SNY Invitational final.
Instead, Markis McDuffie, Tarin Smith and company orchestrated a balanced effort and helped St. Anthony improve to 12-3 overall.
“We practiced yesterday for one of the best teams we’re going to face all year on one basket. We practiced yesterday on a side court, like you do in a camp game with the 10-year olds. Look at the result today.”
While this home game was at the MAAC college, it can't fit another team’s full schedule.
“Saint Peter’s really has been great, but they have two college teams. We’re disrupting their schedule just to play this one.”
Public School No. 7 in Jersey City may be the next home location, and the nomadic championship contenders aren’t complaining.
“It doesn’t matter where we play,” McDuffie said. “As long as we get in a gym and work hard. We’re not a rich school, so we’ve played in a lot of small gyms and stuff. We’ll play on bumps, we’ll run over the bumps; it doesn’t matter. We’ll just play basketball.”
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter