Brian's Blog: It's Easter

Well, it's Good Friday and in two days it will be Easter. It's a time to be with your family and to celebrate a new beginning. So with that, this week's edition of Brian's Blog will be on a similar theme. Read this week's edition of Brian's Blog for an update on UT men's basketball recruiting and an update on UT football and the spring game.

Well, it's Good Friday and in two days it will be Easter. It's a time to be with your family and to celebrate a new beginning. So with that, this week's edition of Brian's Blog will be on a similar theme.

The spring signing period for NCAA basketball is like a birth or adoption. A family is welcoming in a new member, and sometimes even more than one.

The Toledo Rocket basketball family will be welcoming in new members during the spring signing period, which begins next Wednesday, April 15th. It runs through May 20th.

Toledo has vebal commitments from Neil Watson and Jake Barnett. Watson is a 5-10, 160 pound point guard from Kansas City, KS. He committed to Toledo on January 8th, choosing Toledo over offers from Central Missouri State and Pittsburgh State. "The coaching staff caught my eye," said Watson in an interview with Rocket Digest back in January. He added, "the playing style of Coach Cross and the determination of Coach Sundvold (also)."

Jake Barnett, a 6-5 small forward from Milwaukee, WI and more recently Notre Dame Preparatory in Fitchburg, MA is the other verbal commitment. He chose Toledo over Liberty, Boston, and New Hampshire.

These two are expected to sign letters of intent, to go along with the early period signings of Devin Russell, Hayden Humes, and Jordan Dressler. Toledo could also sign one or two more players that have not yet committed.

One that is a very good possibility is Malcolm Griffin of Hyde Park Career Academy in Chicago, IL. Griffin is a 6-3 shooting guard that has been a bit off the radar even though he is considered to be one of the best guards in the state of Illinois. He is expected to decide between Toledo and UCF in the coming days.

Along with being a time for family, Easter symbolizes a new beginning. The Rocket football program is amidst their own new beginning this spring. A completely new coaching staff has brought on a new attitude and a new hope for Rocket football to get back to the winning tradition.

Next Friday, April 17th, the Rockets will have their spring game. Head Coach Tim Beckman has said it will be a real game atmosphere, with referees and normal scoring like you would see in a real game in the fall. That means the days of the "scrimmage-like" spring game with weird scoring calculations that we saw with the prior coaching staff are no more.

Coach Beckman will not be coaching during the spring game though. Instead, there will be six former Rocket football players coaching the game with three on each side. So far Bruce Gradkowski, Wasean Tait, Lance Moore, Mike Bell, and Jalen Parmele have been announced to be five of the six guest coaches. One more former Rocket will be added before next Friday.

The spring game will cap off the first on-the-field look for the new Rocket coaching staff. Before the spring practices they've only seen film on their team. How well a kid performed this spring will go a long ways in where he fits into the depth chart in August when fall camp opens.

Of course Coach Beckman would be quick to remind me that everyone is getting evaluated every day, on the field, in the classroom, and anything else they might be doing (or not doing). And that's what happens in a family too, right? The parents are constantly evaluating how their children are doing. Whether it's in the classroom, doing chores, playing outside, or just doing something that drives the parents crazy.

Yep, that's what family is about. I hope your time with your family this weekend is fun, and doesn't drive you too crazy. Happy Easter Rocket Fans!



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