Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pittsburgh basketball

This is the ESPN definition of Pittsburgh basketball:
It rests on getting the most out of players and allowing them to play with a healthy mean streak.

I love it! Blue collar!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mike Smith

I really, really hope Mike Smith will come in this fall trim, in shape, and totally focused on the task at hand. This is his senior year. If he is going to do it, it is now or never; and he could make a HUGE difference to this team if he takes that attitude.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rashad Jones-Jennings

I wonder if JJ would ever have been noticed for his athletic ability in the years running up to his college career. Evidently not. He couldn't even walk on at a low-level college like Tennessee State. Sometimes it isn't what is visible, but what is inside, that makes a player.
Mike Jarvis, the coach at Florida Atlantic, has this philosophy on recruiting:
"Recruit players with character, not characters. Recruit players from winning programs, and players that do something special."

Sounds good. Now, can he do it?

Friday, June 12, 2009


It surely is nice having an ex-Trojan dominating the sports news rather than an ex-Porker.

Derrick Fisher, that is.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

juco pipelines

To a program in our situation, I am sure it is very important to get reliable juco pipelines – schools that you know turn out well-coached players, that are familiar with what you specifically are looking for, and whose coaches will give reliable information. When you have that sort of relationship, you can know what to expect. Schools at our level are going to have to have good jucos, and really need them to be able to contribute immediately; so we need to develop sources that we know will give us that sort of player.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

recruting class

I know it is only on paper, but I really like this recruiting class. Combined with Mouzy, we just might have one of our best perimeter shooting teams in a long time if Cicic pans out like he appears. Thornton and Spuriel are both rugged rebounders who shoot a really high percentage inside. If either of them bumps Smith or Burton it will be a big plus, but I expect they are back-ups this year, and competing with Bails for starting spots next year. But in any case they have shown they can rebound, that is always valuable. Lots of depth up front. Will Neighbour could be something really special. Having a 6-10 kid with guard-quality ball handling skills is not something that happens every day. Throw in a couple of 3-size guards, and it is a good class. Maybe a really good class. Possibly the best since I’ve been following the team, especially when you lump the veteran point guard Bozeman in with them.

We will have to have some help right away. Bozeman definitely should provide that, as should several of the jucos coming in. If Cicic and Neighbour get double-figure minutes next year, watch out! They won’t all pan out, of course, but some of them will. And what is exciting about this large class is that some of them appear to have the potential to be exceptional. I think this class is worth getting excited about.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wayward players

No program or coach can guarantee that their players will not get into trouble occasionally. You cannot absolutely control their behavior, but you can control how you respond to it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

satisfying for coaches

I am sure most coaches would wish to climb to the pinnacle of his profession, which means coaching at an upper-level BCS school where they expect to be in post-season every year. However, from a purely professional standpoint, in terms of satisfaction in having done a good job, I wonder if coaches at a little lower level don't feel more of a sense of accomplishment. They did more with less. They did it in spite of the resources they did not have.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Savannah State

Savannah State may have had the ultimate in balanced scoring this past season. They did not have a single player to average double figures. (Little Rock can identify with that.) However, their five starters all averaged between 9.9 and 8.0 points per game. Now, that is consistency!

In case you think they were absolutely awful, not so. Obviously, they were not a powerhouse, but they did eke out a winning record at 15-14 for the season, so there were a good many teams worse than they were. They are an independent team, which means they have no actual conference (although independents sometimes schedule as if they did when other schools begin conference play).

I started following Savannah State a little after 2004-2005, when they suffered through a winless season. Coming from winless to a winning record in four years is a pretty fair accomplishment. Hats off to them. I like following the little guys, and when I see a turnaround like that, it is satisfying.

Jersey Tech (NJIT), another independent, also had a winless season year before last. They did win a game last year to break the streak, but you have to suppose that they are wondering if going D1 was a wise decision.