Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finally, consistency

For the second straight contest, Gannon raced out to an early lead, sunk into an offensive funk and nearly blew the game, and then rallied late to post a double-digit win. Do you realize if they do that 3 more times in a row, they'll win the PSAC and make the NCAA tournament? If they do it 6 more times after that, they'll win the national championship! OK, maybe I should just be happy with two in a row.

I'm a little bummed that Gannon is playing at #8 IUP instead of reeling Clarion (losers of 4 of their last 6), but I'm very thankful the Knights are in much better place than they were at the outset of the season. Cal was 12-3 entering PSAC play, but they didn't make the postseason. Ditto for Slippery Rock who was 11-2. While they were watching for their names to appear in the national rankings, Gannon was retooling its roster for the 20th time.

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." Thankfully, that should be the only time I ever quote Oprah on this website.

18 comments:

  1. For all you division 2 basketball junkies you can follow all the league playoffs and NCAA playoffs on

    campus.mst.edu/athleticsarchives/hops/d2basketball/d2hoops

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  2. I had a mispelling in the web address it is not

    "hops" it should be "hoops" sorry about that

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  3. James I beg to differ with you, they have been consistently inconsistent!
    And that is something...

    Sort of like being deceptively slow,
    whatever that meant

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  4. If I did an opinion column to sum up this season, it would be "Consistency is the Question."

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  5. How about..

    "Indecision may or may not be our biggest problem"

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  6. Hard for any team to be consistent with the constant state of flux they experienced this season. Think about it...

    Right before the first game, a projected starter(Sanders) decides he isn't all that happy with the role the coach wants him to play, so he quits. After the first game, another player (Reid) most felt could start quits. Then another starter (and the lone returning starter-Johnson) leaves the team under unusual circumstances. Meanwhile, 2 freshmen(Furno/Bouldes) are starting and certainly feeling their way, to say the least. The returning starter who left returns again. They get scalded (twice) by a team that has been one of their perennial punching bags (Urbana), and also lose twice at home to another one (Lake Erie). After the Porreco Cup, 2 new players (Bryant, Swann)are added to the team (one of whom no one ever heard of before he showed up here), and they eventually are made starters. Those 2 start and play extensively, but lose their positions fairly quickly and eventually never even play. A 6'8" player projected as a possible starter (Simmons) misses 2+ months with an injury. A returning player who becomes a starter (after missing the first 4 games-Demski started 10 games)has to quit mid-way through the season because of an injury. A returning bench player (Harris)plays quite a bit early on, starting 5 games, then eventually falls into a benchwarmer role. 2 walk-ons(Dotchin, Sweny) leave the team. Another starter (of 6 games-Dexter))quits right before the start of the 2nd semester. The freshmen are eventually starting again after sitting for many games. Meanwhile, a walk-on transfer sophomore point guard (Piotrowicz)plays more and more, eventually landing the starting spot. A player known more as a defensive stopper in the paint(Scandrett) suddenly becomes a starter at small forward. Ad infinitum.

    By my unofficial count, there were 9 different starting combinations (none of which started more thn 5 games together)involving 13 different players starting at one time or the other. 8 different players averaged 20 or more minutes a game. And you want consistency? Hard to come by under these circumstances, folks.

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  7. "Defense is the best offense... unless you're Gannon"

    "By George; Johnson helps Knights to playoffs"

    "What's a Laker?... A team that finished above us"

    "Urbana for President"

    "Gannon 'Turns Over' New Leaf"

    "Edinboro wins the local race for PSAC worst"

    "A for Effort; C- for Performance"

    "To Shoot or Not to Shoot?"

    "Indecision 2010: The PSAC West Race for 4th"

    "A Benchwarmer's Guide: Quit or Graduate"

    Regardless, best of luck to both Gannon teams on Tuesday!

    Do I think the Men will win? No. Would I be truly shocked if they did win? No. Will I be disappointed if they get blown out? No. Will I be amazed if they blow them out? No.

    At this point, nothing will surprise me.

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  8. I agree with Gannon74. We can't even bring consistency into the question. That card was out the window after the first game.

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  9. Furno is the freshmen player of the week for the fifth time this season. Has to be a GU record if not a PSAC one. Kid has come a long way since game one. McClain of IUP had 26 pts Sat. Furno will need to be at his best (as well as Simmons) to hold McClain down as they have the last two meetings. Webb had 24 so, both this guys need held below their avgs for the Knights to have a chance. Travis and Geo need to have career days too. A lot to ask but the last two games were close until the end.

    The rumor mill has cranked up again that Swann has flown the coupe (again not verified but a rumor). We'll see 2morrow for sure.

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  10. GUBB: I've also heard that rumor about Swann, but as you stated have not verified it. However, it would not surprise me. I can't picture a junior transfer staying at a school that he's not seeing the floor at all (not saying that I think he should either..). Crouch sees limited playing time, however, he's put in at crucial moments so he knows he's a key bench player.

    Furno HAS to be Freshman of the Year. I'll admit I was totally against the kid in the early going (I'm still not sold on the "he's going to be a superstar" aspect yet...), but the kid has shown he's definitely going to be a contender. It'd be awesome to Johnson rewarded for his great efforts with Player of the Year, however, I don't see it happening with McLain, Webb and Dennis (leading PSAC in scoring... and opposing scoring haha).

    Nonetheless, GO KNIGHTS!!

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  11. Jim salient Point,
    All we have to do is get by IUP and then it is gravy!
    I thought you were a good guy who didn't indulge in mind altering substances...

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  12. BMOC: I agree -- IUP will be Gannon's toughest challenge on their road to the Final Four.

    GUBB/Corey: Swann is still on the official roster, but we'll see Tuesday. I love the headline "A Benchwarmer's Guide: Quit or Graduate." Personally, I chose the latter, never considered the former.

    Gannon74: Excellent recap of the season. Throw in the Jonathan Jones experience as well. You detailed the point I was trying to make. Teams where "everything goes smoothly" don't make their conference playoffs. I've never seen a higher degree of difficulty in one season for a college basketball program that made the postseason.

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  13. Jim: thanks for the kudos. Maybe swann took an excerpt from that headline haha I'm glad you chose the latter and never considered the former. We need more basketball passionate players like you were. Play or not, it's all for the team.

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  14. Completely forgot about Jonathan Jones. Another Knight to show up late and leave early. From what I've heard, Swann has indeed joined that group as well. And he likely isn't the only one, or so I'm told. I've heard that, when the smoke clears, there may be as few as 4 or as many as 7 players returning next year.

    One other odd note: In doing the research about the number of starting lineups and how many different starting lineups have been used, I discovered that the only Knight still on the roster that has not(yet)started a game this year is Crouch. Not many teams have that many different players start. Just another little tidbit from the season of uncertainty.

    Planning to hit the road for IUP tomorrow. Best of luck to the Lady Knights. Keep it going, ladies. We'll see if the Men's team can do the same. Even if they don't, merely making the playoffs is quite an accomplishment, given, as Jim so perfectly put it, this season's degree of difficulty.

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  15. Well to those who go
    You would have to wonder what they are thinking...

    If you are a JR and leave (4 possibles)
    Where do you think you are going to go, and to do what? - Do you even want a degree?

    To the sophmores...
    #1 how many times are you going to go before you realize it's not the school, it's you
    OR
    If you can't play here where can you play

    For the freshman, you probably came thinking wow look at this place to play, there are almost 2,000 fans here, and kids asking for autographs - where else can I get this...
    Well yeah you had a tough year but where do you think you are going to wind up now?
    the potential is here...
    Bottom line if the 5 that have started recently, and 2 or 3 of the others remain - They will experience the rebirth, with a core that could be around for several years...

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  16. gannon74- don't forget about Malcolm, he's not started a game yet! How could you forget about him?? haha :)

    Here's my outlook on players returning (based on my opinion.. and some rumors)

    #1 Bryant - I really feel he'll return. Been a great supporter on the bench and if he was going to leave he'd have done it already
    #4 Piotrowicz - uh, yah.. not leaving
    #5 Bouldes - I'm not a betting man, but I wouldn't be afraid to put a few bucks on his departure
    #10 Johnson - rumors are flying that he's transferring, but I don't see it happening. It would be just straight up dumb on his part (and he's smarter and better than that!)
    #15 Swann - fly away birdie
    #20 Crouch - I think he'll be back
    #21 Furno - leaving, going to D1 North Carolina to help them return to the promise land. If he leaves, it'd be a bigger shock than a #16 defeating a #1 seed in the Big Dance.
    #25 Woodbury - Not sure. I could see him leaving, but I've also heard that he was told from day one he wasn't to expect much playing time. I'd say he's 50-50.
    #40 Simmons - rumors are he'll be gone, but I don't see why. He definitely has a future at Gannon. I'm going to go with my gut and say he's back next year.
    #42 Brannen - Unless he's going D3, don't see him leaving. Solid player, don't get me wrong, but can't picture him even making another D2 team. His bad overshadows his good a lot of the time... and with the exception of 2-3 games, he's not been a HUGE offensive threat.

    So in my opinion, I'm saying 7 return (Bryant, Steve, Johnson, Crouch, In-Furno, Simmons, Brannen). I'm also putting the over/under range at 2, however... 5 - 9 players return.

    Regardless though, we still have a game to focus on tonight as well as, what we hope to be, many more women's games to look forward in the near future.

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  17. Sorry, I do feel bad about not including Woodbury. I disagree with some of your predictions on who's leaving/staying, and agree with others.

    Regarding Johnson, after Coach Reilly stuck by him during his early-season problems, I don't see George going anywhere.

    If the seven you mentioned would all come back, that would certainly be a nice foundation to build on, but I'm afraid not all will.

    One thing you may not be factoring in is that many players feel that Coach Reilly's demanding practice regimen/schedule (see Reid, Isaac) is just too much work and aren't crazy about another year two of pushing themselves that hard.

    We'll see.

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  18. gannon74 - very true regarding respect amoung one's friends. Sad that first priority isn't going to a good school and graduating in order to get a decent job doesn't come into the equation with BB being a close second. What is it, less than 1% play pro ball.

    Not knowing the NCAA rules, if a GU player transfers to another DII school, do they have to sit a year? What about DI? DIII I doubt one would have to sit out but can't see any of our guys going down to DIII.

    I would hope that coach R would not take back a player who left the program in a huff. If Sanders, his style of play does not fit w/ coach R team approach. Sander played at Columbus State CC and they are a run and gun team. Reid seemed (in the short period of time observed) could have worked for the Knights - but wasn't he the one in the paper talking about how hard practices were? IMO a player thumbs their nose at the sport program and leaves, I would not take a second look (Geo was a different situation and does not apply to my opinion here).

    Boulds and Simmons were barking about leaving earlier in the season but talk died down once they started playing. I would like to see them stay. I see Woody and Denard staying. Furno not going anywhere - I hear he loves the school and course of study as well as the BB program. Geo would be crazy to leave ... he's the big fish here. Steve got to be having the time of his life ... DIII to starting at a upper level DII school, wow!. Travis not going anywhere either - I think the 4 spot is the best position for him and he'll be fine.

    One thing for sure, the women are 30-0, are playing well, and their tourney future looks good!

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