Sunday, November 1, 2009

You've got mail ... from Erie

I recently received a very interesting email from self-described "life-long Gannon basketball fanatic" Steve Srnka that I thought all Gannon fans would enjoy. (I know I did.) Here's what Steve wrote:

To fill the time until the opening night showdown with Urbana, and since we are on the last year of the 00's decade, I compiled my all-time list of Gannon stars of the 2000's. My criteria included having played at least two years (with one exception), with two of those years being in the 00's. Otherwise, I just racked my memory and media guides for the guys who stood out during the decade because of scoring, rebounding, defense, hustle, and popularity.

P.S. I also included a list of Gannon players from the 00's who I nearly forgot existed.

Point Guard: Joe Lindsey (07-09). Lindsey orchestrated the team through its best two-year run in decades through his daring passes and unorthodox yet deadly outside shot.
  • 2nd Team: Camara Mintz (01-03) & Cory Knight (06-09). Statistically speaking, Mintz probably had the better career as the starter for the Knights of the early 00's, racking up enough assists for 11th all-time. Off the stat pages, Knight's hustle, defensive prowess, and court intelligence were invaluable assets to the Golden Knights' run to Springfield. Since leaving Knight off of the 00's team would be as egregious as wearing Mercyhurst green and blue, we'll settle for a tie.
  • Honorable Mention: Joe Rivera, Demondi Johnson. (Note: Javar Cheatham would lead this list had he have played his whole tenure out in the 00's. His first half year was the end of 1999 before his final year and a half in the 00's.)

Shooting Guard: Pierre Howard (07-09). The second leading scorer for the Knights in the 2009 Elite Eight run, Howard's overlooked defense combined with a sweet mid-range touch to give the Knights a talented outside threat.

  • 2nd Team: Matt Jones (2001-02, 04-05). Jones' athleticism and hustle sparked the Knights in the early 00's and thrilled the hometown fans.
  • Honorable Mention: Brandon Andrews, Marc Sturdivant, Ron Hollis, Darmel Whitfield, Iren Rainey

Center: Geoff Husted (01-05). Talk about a painful decision. Kyle Goldcamp might go down as one of the most-loved Golden Knights of all time. His return to the lineup against California after missing a month due to injury, receiving an emotional standing ovation and proceeding to drop 23 points in 17 minutes was certainly the individual performance of the decade. Kyle's accuracy from the floor, his dizzying spin move and hook shots, his rebounding talents and his all-around leadership thrilled Gannon fans for two years. Husted's efforts cannot be overlooked, however. He stands in fifth place in all-time career scoring after playing four seasons for NCAA tournament teams. Another popular Knight, Husted could play tough inside as well as step out for an occasional long-jumper. As incredible of a run that Goldcamp had as a Golden Knight, the nod has to go to Husted for longevity and scoring prowess.

  • 2nd Team: Kyle Goldcamp (07-09)
  • Honorable Mention: Aurimas Truskauskas

Power Forward: Josh Morgan (1999-2003). After bursting onto the Gannon scene with a nearly flawless performance as a freshman against a tough Michigan Tech team, Morgan clearly stood out as the star of the Knights squads of the early 00's. His turn-around, fade-away jumpers from the baseline combined with rebounding skill and the knack to hit down big three-pointers to make him one of the best Knights of all-time.

  • 2nd Team: Shelby Chaney (2003-06). If you forgive the fact that he defected to Mercyhurst, Chaney was perhaps the most athletic Knight of the decade. His long wing-span and vertical jumping and dunking ability as well as a turn-around baby-hook shot created an exciting post presence for Gannon.
  • Honorable Mention: Forrest Kirby, Tahron Briscoe

Small Forward: Tyler Stoczynski (2006-09). The lanky Stoczynksi (say that five times fast) morphed roles from the team's leading scorer his sophomore year to playing more of a fourth fiddle to Lindsay, Howard and Goldcamp his last two years. However, without Stoczynski's presence as a post defender and dangerous scoring threat, the Knights would never had gone dancing in Springfield. The 2009 Atlantic Regional MVP will be remembered for his electric dunks and full-tilt hustle.

  • 2nd Team: Vince Mosley (2008). I know I broke my two-year rule here, but Mosley's performance stood out far beyond what I remember of the next best player, Cory Coleman's time at Gannon. A super strong post player with incredible dunking ability (remember when Lindsay ended a game by banking a pass off the backboard to Mosley for a slam?), Mosley was part of the core that brought the Knights back to dominance.
    Honorable Mention: Cory Coleman

The "I almost forgot they even played for Gannon" team of the 00's: Paget Berridge, Vincent Austin, Jason Adams, Kyle Altier, Rob Broughton, Jerrell Hall, Brandon Altmann, Wil Johnson, Kevin Lee, Ryan Quinn, Albert Varacallo

4 comments:

  1. Steve -- Thanks again for a thought-provoking list. Without diving into media guides like you did, here's my list:

    PG: Lindsey
    #2: Mintz. I love Cory Knight, but if there's 5 minutes left in a tie ballgame and I can only have one PG on the floor between Mintz and Knight, I choose Mintz. If I'm down 5, I choose Cory.

    SG: Howard
    #2: Jones.
    My only disagreement with your list here is that I don't think Hollis, Whitfield, and Rainey are honorable mention. They were OK, but not standouts.

    Center: Agree with you 100% -- Husted, Goldcamp, and Aurimas.

    PF: Morgan -- no doubt.
    #2: Mosley. I've always considered him a PF, not a SF. He was either on the blocks or mid-post, rarely on the wing.
    Chaney wouldn't make my list at all. How he departed Gannon wasn't honorable. Stating "If you forgive the fact that he defected to Mercyhurst...", is akin to saying, "If you forgive the fact that he spied for Russia, Robert Hanssen was one the best U.S. government employees ever!"

    SF: Stosh and Coleman. Even Bobby Bossman and Marcus Smith would agree they were the best SF's of the 2000's.

    Almost forgot team: This was tremendous! I don't recall one detail of Jason Adams. I love looking at the media guide and seeing names like Tom Drumm, Kharmen Wingard, Jordan Vreeland, Darnell Steadman, Ed Pagley, and Mikael Ibanez-Lavesson.

    Thanks again for sharing your list. Nobody will agree with it 100%, but we unanimously appreciate your efforts!

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  2. My only problem is that there are a few players on there that only played one year (besides Mosley). Darmel Whitfield only played one year... I thought at first that Rainey only played one year, but now thinking about it he may have played two before he transferred to Cheyney. But honorable mention for SG... Rainey, and Hollis?! Hollis was a bust from day one, Rainey was just a less-talented Mosley.

    Agreements with Jim.. Mosley was at the 4 spot (PF) because that year Stosh played the 3 guard (SF) and then he moved to PF (but in all reality Knights played 4 guards and a forward a lot of the time... Lindsey, Howard, Johnson, Stosh, Goldcamp... 4 guards and a forward.. but Stosh was a swingman)
    Also, no way can you put Cheyney on ANY all-time Gannon list unless it's the "biggest bust", "most overrated" or "biggest traitors". I remember watching him his redshirt year in the maroon and gold scrimmage... he was dunking from nearly the foul line! Then he started actually playing in games.. Was he good? Yes. Was he solid? Yes. Did he help Gannon? Yes. Did his performance and talents overshadow his brutal departure from Gannon? NOT A CHANCE!

    Also for honorable mention at SG... what about the kid that transferred to Philly? I think Marcus Lemon?! Yah, he only played one year and didn't play a lot until the end of the season.. but he started to tear it up when given the playing time. I really feel 4 years at Gannon and he would've been near the top of many records. But then again it was only one freshman year. So maybe we can put him in the "What if" category? :) haha

    Thanks for the list... it's definitely a good one, and though I recall a lot of the names on the "they played at Gannon?" list... I don't remember them haha

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  3. Glad that you guys enjoyed the list. I definitely didn't intend for it to be the gospel truth, so I enjoyed seeing the comments.
    If I revised the list at all, I would probably exclude a few of the honorable mentions like Rainey and Whitfield. I think I just got carried away with reminiscing about the old teams there.

    I'd also probably slide Cory Coleman into Mosley's spot, partially because I should have been consistent in requiring two years. And partially because the more I recall of Cory, the more I remember him using his strength and talents more consistently than Mosley did. Mosley could be spectacular but he could also frustrate me with his bad hands and his propensity for turnovers.

    I loved the line about Robert Hanssen, a valid point indeed, but I'll have to stick with Shelby. I knew him during my time at GU and Shelby was ultimately a good guy who just didn't fit in with the new system. Since his offensive output was much greater than Briscoe and Kirby, two defensive stalwarts, I have to stick with Shelby.

    Thanks for posting the list; I hope to see what others think. GO KNIGHTS!

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  4. Hmmm ... Great topic. I generally designate a "year" as the year a season ended (e.g. Gannon was the 2009 PSAC and Atlantic Region champs), so I would call Cheatham a two-year player this decade and put him at point guard. But I digress ...

    I agree with all the other selections. Husted gets the nod over Goldcamp due to his longevity.

    However, you forgot one key component. Who gets to coach the all-decade team? Only two choices ... Slocum or Reilly.

    I guess I'll start: I'll give the all-decade coach to Slocum. Five 20-win seasons and six consecutive NCAA appearances in the 2000's make it tough to leave J-Slo off the all-decade bench. Admittedly, he didn't get a win in the NCAAs, but GU was in a much tougher region to get through.

    Reilly's recent success has been more than Slocum, but in an all-decade perspective, his first two years can't be overlooked.

    All in all, we've been blessed this decade with two great coaches at GU.

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