Sunday, January 10, 2010

For Mansfield, an embarrassing win

I was searching for the right words to describe today's game, when my 4-year-old daughter summed it up best. When her grandmother asked, "Who won the game?", Evelyn replied, "Nobody won." For the Knights, the loss was an uppercut to the midsection of a team that 24 hours ago looked to be getting on track. For Mansfield, it was worse.

Even though the Mountaineers won by 11 points, they lost my respect for their basketball program. I'd say at least 20-25 times in the game they acted inappropriately -- players taunting fans, waving to the crowd sarcastically after making a shot, and pointing to the scoreboard. Maybe the worst of it was with 30 seconds left and the game in hand, three Mansfield players broke into a fun-bunch dance near the free throw line while waiting for a Gannon player to check in. C'mon guys -- act like you've won a basketball game before.

Sure, senior Ryan Callahan was the ringleader of the idiocy, but the real blame goes to MU head coach Rich Miller. He's supposed to be the adult -- the one who's supposed to be teaching discipline to young men. Can you imagine Jerry Slocum, successful every year at Gannon both on and off the floor, standing by quietly as his players preened to the opposing crowd? He wouldn't have let that happen once, let alone two dozen times in one game. Miller allowed his players to embarrass themselves and their university. Yes, you can score a major win and be a big loser at the same time.


  1. 1) Mansfield gets a failing grade for being a classy program and Ryan Callahan was perhaps the most obnoxious opponent to play at the Hammermill in recent years. His incessant jabbering at the refs and taunting of the crowd was garbage. Yes, he was a good shooter, but he was a very lazy player on offense, not moving around at all without the ball. I was so glad to see the crowd get on him and for Demski to give him that hard foul. (Did anyone notice him looking at the crowd his whole run to the hoop for that shot?) And then the Mansfield bench pointing to the scoreboard when we all booed Callahan? Thats something your student section does, not the bench.
    2) I am glad to listen to the postgame radio show and hear the guys on there be critical of the Larry Swann experiment. All I'll say is how on earth is he any better than Crouch, Dexter or Harris? How are Crouch and Dexter feeling after transfering here to play as JUCO guys but now sit the bench?
    3) That Mansfield three at the end of the first half lost the game for the Knights. By letting that shot up uncontested, that gave them the momentum coming out of the gate in the 2nd half. And those 3 points would have looked great during the late run.
    4) On a positive note, Im really liking George's shooting stroke when he is on. He does a great job of shifting his body in midair and getting the shot up and in.
    5) Not sure why Demski was guarding the big guy from Mansfield and not Brannen. And I wish that Brannen would have got the ball more. He did struggle to get position on the big guy, but that would have helped.
    6) So unfortunately the Knights failed to do what they needed to, get that 2nd W in a row. They just had no intensity in the first 10 mins of half #2, and that killed them too. 2nd halves are killer for them this year. Hopefully the Bloom game was more than a fluke for the offense.

  2. 1. They seemed tired .. a lot of short shots and low intensity until the last seven minutes of the second half. Coach holds a hour or so practice on game day and it is far from a walk through ... more intense. Physiologically, your muscles can not recover in time for a game and players will have tired legs (so I am told by a PT/trainer who treats and trains pro athletes). Could be why they looked tired. On the other hand, coach had the same practice last year and those players didn't seem effected.
    2. Didn't see Sweny on the bench or Jones or did I just not look closely?
    3. Surprised to see Woodbury play from what cc3 has said in past posts.
    4. Two games Dexter didn't start nor play. Is he hurt or in the dog house again? Preston?
    5. I agree w/ Jeremy, no sportsmanship from Mansfield.

    Mansfield was a beatable team ... 2 of 19 to start the second half put us too far behind though they made a nice effort in coming back to six down. I do think they are getting better.

  3. i left the game at halftime HOWEVER, i was not impressed with the fans of mansfield that were near me for the first half.

    gubbfwlr- sean who broadcasts for jet said in his preshow yesterday that though unconfirmed, sweny left the team. it's about time that we saw woodbury-- he looked a little rusty, but that's nothing new to our team.

  4. Unfortunately, I had to work today and couldn't make the game. As I look at the box score, one thing jumps out at me: a 1 for 16 shooting night for a starting guard. That's 1-16. Yes, I said 1 made basket in 16 attempts.

    Now, in all my years of watching basketball in general and GU basketball in particular, I don't think I've ever seen ANYONE go 1-16 for several reasons. First of all, most players would realize that they're hurting the team, decide it isn't their day, and STOP SHOOTING. My guess would be that the player in question either has some kind of attitude problem, or simply doesn't care if he's hurting the team and the team is going to lose because of his selfishness. In the case of this player, his past history, and the fact that he's been here all of 2 weeks(and has been handed the starting spot without really earning it, IMO), I don't think he's all that concerned with this team and the stuation it is in and I doubt he cares one way or the other.

    Secondly, there's a pretty good chance that most coaches would take a player shooting that poorly out of the game. I doubt that he was being kept in for his defense, as Mansfield's shooting guard, even though he apparently was some kind of street thug, did put up 20-some points.

    Whatever else happened in that game, you simply cannot win with a player playing that many minutes and shooting 1-16. Can anyone who was there provide a theory as to why that player played so much and was allowed to keep shooting?

    On other topics, I was told that Sweny did indeed leave the team and Bouldes is injured. Not sure why Jones isn't suiting up-he wasn't dressed Saturday, either.

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  6. Who was the one black kid sitting behind the bench? There was Keim, in a Gannon sweat pants outfit, Bouldes in warmups, and then another kid. Never seen him back there before. Wasn't a current player as he wasn't wearing the Gannon warmups.

    I was surprised but happy to see Malcolm get some pt. He was surprised as well he said. According to some players I've talked to they said he's been practicing alot better lately and been getting high regards from the coaches. Maybe well see more of him.

    Mansfield was by far the unclassiest team I've ever seen. Their coach was just as bad. He taunted fans along with his team. On one occasion George hit a 3 and turned to callahan and said "great defense". The next time down, George wasn't even guarding him, he made a layup and he just stared down Johnson and the coach yelled "where were you on that one George?" Thanks for teaching your players sportsmanship coach.

    Speaking of which, I sent an email to Mansfields AD and just simply stated how poor of sports they were. I was not nasty, said nothing derrogatory, no foul language, etc. Just said it was a poor showing for Mansfield University in general. Didn't expect a reply, but got one! His reply email?... "Poor sports? Who's emailing who after their team just lost? Just because you lost doesn't mean we are poor sports. Nice try. Have fun in PSAC playoffs this year..."

    guess I see where the coach and players get it from.

  7. Ouch ... Nothing jumps off the stats sheet, except for Swann's 1/16.

    From what I see here, it looks like MU really went overboard, to say the least. But in a strange way, it makes me feel good to see teams extra-excited to beat us ... Nobody dances around like idiots after beating Mercyhurst.

    I'm sick of saying this, but the Knights are 5-0 with me in attendance and 0-7 without me there. This is getting kind of spooky.

    Now the real fun begins. Throw out what you did before because these ones are for real.

    The good news is that I should be in attendance for from nine to eleven PSAC west games, which should guarantee a PSAC playoff spot. :-)

  8. Corey: I deleted your one post because it said some pretty overly harsh things about some players, their ability, and their contribution to the team. Please be more diplomatic going forward. You made some good points on other subjects, but some comments were over the line.

    Can you forward the Mansfield AD email to me? Thanks.

  9. Sorry about that Jim. Don't remember what I said but I apologize.

    As for the Mansfield email, I deleted it but it may still be in my trash. I'll take a look after work and see.

  10. corey- i also emailed the athletic director but i cc-ed the email to their dean of students, who's email was also on the site. i haven't heard back from either so we'll see if the dean has anything nicer to say. I thought that it was only right to let them know that as a student, fan and broadcaster of gu basketball, how disappointing their sportsmanship was. we'll see what they say.

  11. For what it's worth, I was told this morning that Mansfield's idiotic punk behavior spilled over into the tunnel outside the locker rooms after the game, as they continued to taunt Gannon players, one in particular, requiring the intervention of the GU coaches to separate some players.

    Typical of many state schools, Mansfield brought in a coach who is more concerned with his players' abilities on the court than their abilites to function as a human being on or off the court. Since the coach and the AD apparently not only don't try to stop, but actually seem to encourage that behavior, it's an issue that has to go outside the athletic department to someone in a more authoritative position, like the Dean of whatever department that Athletics reports to to have any impact. I hope they're proud of themselves. Sad commentary on the University and the system.

    Unfortunately, this is one of the negatives when getting into a league of state schools whose admission standards and requirements of their coaches are lower than Gannon's. Sometimes you end up having to deal with the type of mindset where the only thing that matters is what happens on the court. Since Gannon now wears a target after last year's success, I'm guessing we'll see this type of behavior again this year at another league game somewhere down the line.

  12. Since Taylor U coaches and players were the opposite of MU, I emailed the bb coach and let him know Jim's comments (no rude, cussing, throwing behavior). Received an appreciative reply:

    "Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope we are about more than winning, although winning is the way we teach much of what we believe to be the “life stuff” of this journey."

    Thank you again,


  13. for what it's worth...

    1. I agree the opposing team did not behave in a manner that we would like...but
    2. Gannon and the players are not at fault here. In the handshake line afterwards GJ had to be "restrained" by coach when shaking hands with 35 (their ringleader)...completely out of line.
    3. I have been a season ticket holder for 15 years (and my father was a season ticket holder for years before me) and some gannon fan next to me spent the 2nd half calling #35 a moron. Literally right behind the visitor bench...continuously calling "hey 35, you're a moron". Alot of the pointing at the scoreboard and the jawing with the fans came from this.

    Personally I was more embarrassed by the action of this Gannon fan and thought that he should have been removed from the game.

    Also, regarding L. Swann...I'm not defending him...and for all I know he's never going to help GU, but his 1-16 shooting night had NOTHING to do with his selfishness or attitude.

    If he didn't pass up open looks, he could have easily been 1 - 24. Seriously.

  14. Well, the AD was a lot nicer to me than to Corey. He said that the program would never do anything to embarrass the program and forwarded me the Coach's response to the email. (Apparently the dean sent it straight to the coach...) The coach wrote back to the ad & the dean saying, amongst other things:

    "It was a competitive game between two competitive teams. Our players and staff were proud and excited to beat the defending PSAC Champions. Our players and coaching staff did not do anything that embarrassed Mansfield University or our athletics Department. Both of you should be proud of the performance of your team yesterday. I would hope that these derogatory comments do not take away from that."

    Glad to see their feelings

  15. Jim: You said that the type of offense and defense John uses is very complicated in comparison to the way Tom Chapmin ran his program. When reading one of Dean Smith's book he said (Paraphrase: Every September my coaching staff and I would sit down and evaluate the talent we had for the coming season. Once we figured out our strengths and weaknesses of our current players we would plan how we would play that year. The change of one player from the prior year could change the whole dynamics of the current years team.) I would think when you have as many new players and some at mid year you might want to keep it a little simpler.
    Another question. Why did we not red shirt Anthony Simmons? It looks like we just wasted a year of elgibility of a 6'8" 255lb left handed center that could have been a real asset in the following years.
    I am really disappointed I would have thought with the success of the last two years we would have just reloaded. To be honest I do not think we are even rebuilding.

  16. Oops...I meant to say "Gannon and the players are not without fault here."

  17. They did nothing to embarrass themselves or the athletic department?? What game were they watching?

  18. GUBBFWLR: Good job giving credit where credit is due to the Taylor program. Kudos to Coach Patterson for running a classy program and responding to your note.

    thefauves1: I agree with you that it takes two to tango. There's no situation where screaming "moron" at a player or coach is acceptable. You can get away with that behavior at smaller setting like Gannon because there aren't ushers there like major sporting contests who keep that stuff under control. And good point with Swann's poor shooting being a neck-down problem (vs. an attitude problem). Not only is he coming off a two-year layoff, he's worn tape on the thumb of his shooting hand the past two games.

    Beth: Super job getting the dean involved. And as far as Coach Miller's comments, as they say, "denial ain't just a river in Egypt!"

    Bob: What a coincidence ... I think I just started reading that Dean Smith book 10 days ago (if you're referring to "The Carolina Way"). I came across that same passage last week and thought of Gannon. I disagree with you that they're not rebuilding. They're better now than they were a couple weeks ago, certainly a month ago. There's some glimmers of hope. Finally, I have no info on Simmons redshirtting.

  19. Regarding the player who shot 1-16, I was also trying to insinuate that the player was not the only one responsible for going 1-16. Apparently, since it sounds like no one else picked up on that, perhaps I need to be more specific.

    IMO, Coach Reilly should have considered sitting him out for a longer period of time or for the remainder of the game and perhaps try a different player or players in his spot. It's unlikely that whoever would've been in the game in his place could've shot it any worse. Someone who was at the game could give a better opinion of his contributions in other areas of the game; like defense, for example (Was he guarding Mansfield's high scorer/chief loudmouth?).

    I understand that he might have a physical problem with his shooting hand. If so, that would be another reason to monitor his performance more closely and replace him should he struggle shooting the ball.

  20. I forgot to add a comment regarding the Dean Smith model for planning the season. Of course, it makes perfect sense to do it that way, and I'm sure most coaches are able to do so. Unfortunately, this past September, with so many new players, there's no way that Coach Reilly could've known what he had and plan accordingly. You can't plan for a season when you don't even know, with one exception, which players you'd be able to plug into which positions. I also think that's why all the redshirts (Furno, Sweny, Simmons) went out the window , and why players were added (Jones, Batts, Swann) when Sanders and Reid left. Coach Reilly has had to use all the resources at his disposal to try to right his sinking ship.

  21. Talk about a bad crowd. At last yrs SRockU game, the student body as a whole were yelling derogatory comments at one of GU's coaches. When Kyle G had a side out in front of the football players section(courtside) one of them physically was tugging on Kyle's uniform. The SRU coach had to come over to settle them down. Not for long as one finally had to be escorted out.

  22. Second email from Mansfield AD (I did not reply at all to his first):

    "I am sincerely sorry about the first communication you received. I can assure you that was not from me nor would I, or anyone on my staff, talk in such a manner as that. There are several work study students that work in our office and several use this computer for their work. I can assure you I will find out who sent that email and that person will be reprimanded accordingly.
    In regards to your email, none of our athletic teams at Mansfield University would ever do anything to display a poor image reflective of the Mansfield University Athletic Department. What happened in the game is just the nature of the game; players get emotionally involved and may react or overreact to situations. But
    they would not do anything to put down an opposing team."

  23. In regards to the SRU game last least Slippery Rock can say they were students. I sometimes behaved like an idiot when I was a student.

    The Gannon fan who continually berated the KIDS on the Mansfield bench couldn't have been under 60. And he knew exactly what he was doing...out of all the bad sportmanship that went on, IMO, it was one of our own who acted like the biggest fool.

  24. Hopefully the Knights can use Sunday's dustup with Mansfield as motivation for the rest of the season. They should be mad that a bunch of punks came into their house and taunted them and their fans. Often in sports an event like that can unite a team closer together. If the Knights play even a little angry, it would be better than they played the first 10 minutes of the second half on Sunday...

  25. I was looking up the time of the game tomorrow and just happen to click on the roster page. Sweny name has been removed as well as Jonathan Jones. Earlier rumor was he didn't make grades but that seemed to be untrue since he was still playing after grades came out. Did he quit too?

  26. Gannon 74 I cannot understand what you mean with so many new players how would the coaching staff know what they had. They are the ones recruiting these players and if they do not know what these players strength and weakness are when they are recruited that might explain why we are having the season we are.

  27. Corey: Please send me both emails from the Mansfield AD. I still haven't received the first one. Thanks.

  28. Jim- I don't have the first email as I deleted it right after I read it. I did, however, send you the second email.

    Jones and Sweny both quit. Jones quit because of playing time. He felt that since he was asked to play by the coaching staff that he should be playing. It definitely wasn't grades as he was an academic award winner with the football team. I've heard that sweny transferred out of Gannon. Not sure the truth behind that, but i do know a friend of mine said sweny was on the roster for a class and hasn't showed up.

    I heard Bouldes is expected to leave as well. I hope this doesn't happen, but I can see it. Go from the teams best 1 guard to not playing at all (and he was the best at time because he was actually good). Guess well see.

  29. Bob, since you seem to want to discuss this further, let me be more specific.

    Knowing a player's strengths and weaknesses is one thing, but, as a coach, you never really know for sure what you have in a player until you see them in a game at the level you play at. For example, you cannot tell how a college freshman will perform based on how he played in high school. Same with a juco based on how he played at "Fill in the Blank JC". The differences in the style and quality of play, the size of the players, the physicality, the defensive schemes, the offensive philosophies, the size of the gyms, the size of the crowds, etc. make it hard to tell how a player will perform when he steps up in class, as it were.

    Not to knock the D-III game, but the best example I can give is the difference between Behrend and GU. If you've seen games at Behrend, you know that there is a huge gap between the 2 levels of play for all the reasons I noted above. One of GU's current backups started at Behrend last year as a true freshman, but I haven't heard a single GU fan say they think he's ready to start for the Knights, even after another year's experience.

    Most coaches have more than 1 starter, 2 backup players(one of whom wasn't supposed to play as of September), a couple benchwarmers and a couple walk-ons returning from the previous year's team. This is the situation Coach Reilly found himself in this September, and that made it very difficult, if not impossible, to plan for this season, as you noted that most successful coaches do. It may have been different if he had a senior 2 year starter and maybe a backup point guard with some game experience back, but he had only a single junior small forward, who has had his share of troubles in assuming the role of team leader, as we all know.

    Having said that, I do agree with your insinuation that this wasn't Coach Reilly's stongest recruiting class. Part of that may be due to the departure of Coach Price (I think that was his name), who I'm told was the point man for recruiting. It could be that the abilities of this year's recruits and/or the quality of their attitudes was overestimated by the coaching staff, or it could be that they expected more out of players that had undisclosed problems and didn't return (Pace), were injured(Simmons, Woodbury), couldn't be here from the start(Bryant), or who didn't want to be here and have left(we all know who that is).

    I apologize for the lengthy diatribe, but I hope you now understand what I meant.

  30. To add to Gannon74, Swann, like Byrant, was not in the program at the start and Furno wasn't even suppose to play this year. I think Reid and Saunders leaving was a big kick in the pants.

  31. Corey: I didn't receive that email. Please send it to Thanks.

  32. Jim: I resent it. Let me know. Did you check your junk-spam folder? Being that my email is a web-based email it often goes to junk thru filtration.

  33. If you dont like us stop us from scoring. You people made this game so much fun. If it wasnt for your over the top fans who wouldnt stop talking to me I would have had nothing to say. You have a great fan base but the fans and the Gannon players, Including the one who tried to come and start a fight with me in the hall way after the game are just as much to blame for the way that game went down. Man did I light you guys up in the first half

    -Ryan Callahan