Monday, February 15, 2010

Energy crisis

It's been a heckuva ride this season, but I'm fearing that tonight's 66-61 home loss to Lake Erie could be the beginning of a very bumpy home stretch. This Golden Knight team has been scrappy every game, but they looked gassed tonight vs. the Storm. No wonder: on Saturday George Johnson and Alfonso Scandrett each played 44 minutes, and tonight they logged 40 and 28 minutes, respectively, in a physical, full-court game. Steve Piotrowicz (34 minutes vs. Clarion, 31 tonight -- 17 consecutive in the second half) played hard but his legs were gone before the final buzzer. When Lake Erie worked the ball side-to-side-to-side-to-side, the Knights couldn't keep up. And when the Storm got off a shot, GU couldn't fight them on the boards, giving up 16 offensive rebounds.

This game didn't matter in the PSAC playoff hunt, but my fear is that the low energy level will carry over to Wednesday. Tonight's output didn't appear to be a result of poor effort; the guys who are playing so many minutes just didn't have that burst needed to make plays. I'll be rooting like heck for Gannon Wednesday, though I'm worried that, like tonight, part way through the game they'll run out of


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  2. Also, if memory serves. that game was 2 days after Johnson left the team. I seem to also recall that significant minutes were played by Dexter and Harris, too.

    On paper, this is now a much better GU team that has gained a lot of experience and played together a lot more than the late November version. Hard to say if the fatigue factor, a post-Clarion letdown, and/or the anticipation of the Edinboro game will affect the team negatively.

    I agree that the timing of this game is less than ideal. At least it's not a road game.

  3. You would like to think that sets as a whole different game from Nov match-up.

    It was a team that had seen the departure of Reid, no Simmons, significant min by Dex and Harris (who had a great game BTW).
    Gannon will definitely have a whole new team this time around, the question arises which 'new' team will arrive? Will it be the Mercyhurst version or a more cohesive group?

    A different game does not necessarily equate to different results, though we can always hope and pray.

  4. It was also Bouldes' first start of season and our starting lineup consisted of Bouldes, Harris, Crouch, Scandrett and Furno. Harris, I believe, was leading scorer for Gannon that game... He doesn't even leave the bench anymore, Crouch is only playing sparingly and Scandrett and Furno are leaps and bounds from where they were that game. Yes Scandrett is still nothing too threatening on offense and is shaky with the ball, but he's definitely became a team leader (after Demskis removal) along with Johnson. Furno has just flat out been playin with much more confidence.

    BMOC is correct, diff team doesn't mean diff result, however, diff team does mean we adjusted from learning from early mistakes.

  5. Congratulations to Furno on being named Freshman of the Week for the third time in past four weeks.

    Leads to next question...

    How has Johnson not been named Player of the Week yet? There can't possibly be players having the games he's been having past 2 weeks. Especially in close games.

  6. Johnson has been named Gannon Athlete of the week at least twice this season (including this week) however, with the controversy of the last game, would it have been the best idea to name him Player of the Week this week?

  7. Johnson has only been named Player of the Week once this season, the week before December 23.

    And regardless of how the game ended, yes, he was very deserving this week of the nomination. Three assists away from a triple-double on Wednesday (along with blocks and steals) and another strong performance all-around on Saturday. Trevor Vann, California, was named Player of the Week this past week and, besides the fact he did score more points, his numbers do not really compare with Johnson. As well as Johnson literally won the past 2 games himself when the game was on the line.

    Also, from reading the article (WHICH WAS ON PAGE 8 BECAUSE GANNON OBVIOUSLY DOESN'T MATTER TO ETN), according to Clarion's coach the only controversy in his mind was "Why didn't Johnson have the ball in his hands when the game was on the line in regulation?". He didn't even acknowledge the last play of the game, besides saying Johnson made a great play to win the game.

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  9. Well 671 in attendance!

    Who can blame the ETN - if no one is showing up... Why write about it? Saturday's game 'only' had 1832 no fans in the stands... no wagon to jump on... the media is by it's nature fickle... People do not want to read the process piece about a rebuilding program... they want to hear heroic stories of triumphant heros... otherwise, who cares

    Not to be too critical, I know jimmy doesn't like it... but someone seeing quality min consistently has more TO's and fouls than points...I wonder about a plus minus rating...

    Other than that turnovers are a constant 15 - 20 a game...

    The classic Bob Knight Recipe for winning - or defeat if you inverse it – make more FT’s than your opponent attempts… LEC 18-27 – G 11-14... check some of the other losses…it is as consistent as the turnovers.

    Someone needs to be able to get to the rim under control and create. Seems like there is a lot of standing on the perimeter to me...

    Sad to say different game, same results

  10. In 1997-98 Gannon played a February Monday home game against Edinboro in the midst the GLIAC schedule. GU lost the 'Boro game, then stumbled to the finish line, losing four of their last six GLIAC games.

    And who was the last opposing team to win two games at the Hammermill Center in a single season? The last team that I can come up with is Cheyney in 1985-86, who defeated GU in a January regular season contest, then knocked off the Knights, 65-62 in a memorable East Regional Final.

  11. BMOC- who cares how many fans come to the game? With the great finish of the mens game and the women possibly moving to #2 in nation after coasting to 26-0, they both shouldve been front page with Bison wrestling. How can anyone consider this a "rebuilding season" when practically the entire team will be graduating next year? Rebuilding would be the word if we had a ton of freshmen; we have 3.

    Wasn't at the game today, but what happened to Brannen? 1-3 shooting? He only had 4 fouls, so that's not an issue as the coaches have been putting him back in late in the first half when he already has 2 fouls. So what happened there? Was Alfonso still comin up lame like he did several times on Saturday?

    Game is in the past now, on to the Boro! Go Knights!

  12. While I agree that Fort Leboeuf deserved front page coverage, and the Gannon Lady Knights should be getting some better coverage, be honest, this isn't some conspiracy.
    If covering Gannon more or the Bison better would sell more papers they would do it, as it is they probably get flack from other fan bases that they cover GU too much. And the Fort Leboeuf thing was probably mishandled.
    As for the make-up of the team

    Yes there are 5 juniors, but only 2 of them were here last year
    As for the 14 players on the roster today, 6 were with the team last year, and only 2 saw playing time (and one of those is out).
    Of the 9 guys who played last night, 2 were here last year, if that isn’t trying to rebuild I don’t know what you think is.

    Time flies like an Arrow – Truth flies like a banana

  13. Great article on women's star Tiffany Crocker from the Columbus Dispatch this morning.

  14. I agree with Jim , they looked tired. Normally they would have had Sunday off.

    cc3 - Zo had 7 to's. His leg seemed okay but again, points in the game that he was gassed. He played aggressive defensive and was banging the boards, esp. the second half.

    Travis - Sat most of the first half w/ 2 fouls. Instead of standing straight up w/ hands raised to contest a shot, he has been trying to block the shot ... thus he seems to be fouling more.
    Furno and Simmons for the most part do the straight up approach ... and foul less.

    Old song - too many turn overs.

    Furno had another solid game. How about his one-handed dunk off a rebound! His elbow was at the rim ... very spectacular. Beth - I hope you weren't looking away from the TV and missed it.

    Seemed like we had a hard time hitting the low post and when we did, the finish often lacked.

    Seems like we run the same offensive play and the defense is hardly fooled. Little variety makes it hard for key players like Geo to get good looks.

  15. When I think of rebuilding I look at teams like North Carolina. The other night they started 3 sophomores and a freshman. And their upper class is sparse so they have this team to build on for a few years. That's what I look at as rebuilding, when you have a plan for 4+ years. I see your point of view on rebuilding but I just look at it differently. I don't look at a rebuilding year when you're rebuilding for only one future season. Yes, Furno Simmons Bouldes Steve etc will be here for a while but the bulk of the players who are getting the playing time are leaving next year (If not sooner). Now, if Furno Simmons and Bouldes were starting and playing 25+ minutes a game then I'd say they're rebuilding.

    Right now, however, I see them as playing for this season. Rebuilding you look ahead to upcoming seasons, not gaining a low playoff seed.

  16. Anyone who thinks that 09-10 is not a rebuilding season is fooling themselves. You can rebuild with juniors and one senior and you can still contend for a playoff spot while rebuilding, those aren't mutually exclusive concepts (i.e. not impossible).
    If this was not about rebuilding, then my bet is that we would see Bryant way more than Bouldes. While Bouldes has played decent, why would you play a freshman over a junior if you weren't rebuilding? Yes, Bryant had his turnover issues but other than Piotrowicz name another Knight who hasn't?
    Btw, CoachCorey, 2 of the 3 guys that you mention (Furno, Bouldes and Simmons) ARE starting and playing significant minutes.
    While we all would have liked to see the rebuilding go smoother than it has (i.e. not losing twice at home to Lake Erie and blown out twice by Urbana) it is what it is: a transition season.

  17. As far as the players seeming to be gassed, I find that incredibly ironic considering that this team at one point had 18 guys on the roster.
    Now, only 9 guys ever see the floor. Why Bryant, Harris or even Woodbury don't ever see the floor for at least a handful of minutes is beyond me. I'm not advocating the revolving door that was the beginning of the season. But a well-timed rest for George by bringing in Preston would seemingly give George a boost of energy down the stretch. Preston is a strong guy and can hold his own out there. Sure, the offensive production will dip without George. But wouldn't George better able to shake those defenders late in the game to make his shots? Maybe his field goal percentage will improve, negating any lost point opportunities from him on the bench?

    How about using Woodbury to spell Zo for a minute or two? Malcolm is a tall and athletic guy who could go harass the other team on defense.

  18. No doubt that Lake Erie's depth wore GU down, particularly coming off the Clarion marathon. Players probably haven't had a day off since after the Lock Haven road trip, and there was the Cal weekend debacle in there, too. I'm told they continue to have game-day practices as well, so, as I alluded to BEFORE the Lake Erie game, that is a tired group of players out there.

    The banishment of players like Bryant and Harris is indeed baffling, but there's probably more to the issue than we know. While it's true that the turnover virus is rampant team-wide, you can't afford to have that problem at the point, which may be imnpacting Bryant. You saw how things spiraled downward yesterday when the PG in the game at the time committed TO's right at the start of the 2nd half.

    Then there's playing defense. It may be that the banished players aren't up to Reilly's standards at that end of the court.

    One other thing re:Harris- Near the end of January, wasn't he AWOL for one of the games, then in street clothes for 1 or 2 more? Maybe something happened there that is affecting Reilly's willingness to play him.

    Whatever the reasons, Coach Reilly is much more aware of every facet of what's going on and what he wants on the court, so it's his call. You'd think that he is doing all he can to improve the team's chances of being successful, even if it makes less logical sense to those of us who haven't seen a single practice and have precious little knowledge of what going on off the court.

  19. Jeremy - you hit the nail on the head... this is a transition year.. not a rebuilding year. We are transitioning from a great year to hopefully a solid year next year. The way I view rebuilding would be you play ALL your young guys (i.e. - Harris, Woodbury, Bryant) for significant time to get them ready for the upcoming seasons.
    Also, Simmons and Bouldes start but Bouldes the last 5 games is averaging 10 minutes a game and Simmons is averaging 13 minutes a game. That's significant playing time?
    Bryant is a sophomore, not a junior, and from what I've heard we most likely will not see him in action for the remainder of the season. Apparently, he's not in "game shape" yet and "isn't adapting to Gannon's style of play on either end". Technically, it sounds like he's unofficially redshirting, but can't be listed as a redshirt since he's already done it.

    Again, as I've said before, Woodbury was told not to expect playing time. And from the sounds of it that includes his final two years, if he stays. Also, Malcolm is a guard, not a forward. Replacing Scandrett with him would be replacing Brannen with Batts.

    As for Harris... well.. I think him and Batts know what their roles on the team are.

  20. Harris, young? he is a junior
    Bryant, young? he is the same class as Piotrowicz
    and older than Bouldes...

    Are you suggesting he not play Johnson? or Scandrett? That only if Coach did that he would be rebuilding?
    That's your definition of rebuilding?
    I would call that career suicide...

    Are we transitioning to a new era in GU basketball? Transitioning implies going through change... are we going through change in order to build the program back up? if so...rebuilding..

    If we are transitioning to a accepting a mediocre program, then OK transitioning..

    As for your point regarding North Carolina, I would have to say based on their min. played that they are transitioning as well. Of the top 6 players in terms of games played and min played, 2 are seniors, 1 is a junior...a bit of an inversion of the GU situation...1 sr 2 jrs...

    Hugs and kisses to all!

  21. No I suggest none of that. He can do nothing to make this a rebuilding season IMO. Unless you believe that next season this team is going to contend for a
    national championship, then I don't see this as rebuilding. I don't see that being the situation, but I also never envisioned the past two years playing out as they did before Goldcamp, Lindsey etc came to town.

    If we were rebuilding, then why are Bryant and Woodbury not playing; even in the games that are decided in the first 20 minutes?

    BMOC I understand your point of view and agree with points. I'm not asking you to agree with me; just to see what I'm saying (different point of view).

  22. Jeremy,
    trust me if coach thought that Preston could spell George, and that George would be fresher due to that, he would. The fact that he isn't should tell you something.
    Remember, this is a guy who has been doing this for more than 23 years, first as a grad assistant, and then moving on.
    He is niether petty nor short sighted, he is doing what is best to compete this year, as well as the future.

    Bryant and Woodbury over who?
    Woodbury over Scandrett? doesn't seem to be a logical switch, nor Simmons Brannen, or Furno

    Bryant over who? George, Piotrowocz, Bouldes?
    I get the feeling that they are apples and oranges...

    I think the real arguement is semantic, but I do feel that Riels is putting GU in a position to be a power in the conference next year, and continue to grow as the freshman continue to mature...

  23. I agree with the out of gas comment. When watching Michigan State play Wiconsin a week or so ago on a Tuesday one of the announcers made a comment "it is obvious that Wisconsin did not play on Saturday and Michigan State did because Wisconsin has fresher legs." This three days after Michigan States prior game. Then on Thursday of that week watching Duke playing another ACC team one of the announcers made a comment about practicing. The other announcer said " this time of the year you just do walk throughs and shoot arounds because when you are playing two and three games a week you do not want to burn up your players legs. So I guess I just do not understand down a dirty sweaty practices on game days.

  24. i have never played basketball at this high of a level, but i never understand the comment about "running out of gas"...we're talking about 20 year old kids here. we're not talking about an aging celtics team. and we're talking at most 3 games a week, 40 minutes a game,30 games season. i can understand the mental fatigue, but can someone who has played or coached at this level explain the physical fatigue aspect to me.


  25. thefauves1- I am pretty surprised that you would not understand how a 20 year old kid could be tired at this point in the season, and, after hearing all that's involved, I would hope you'd change your mind. Over the course of watching Gannon basketball over 40 years, I have often spoken with players and players' parents to get an idea of the time the GU players spend on playing basketball.

    Currently, under Coach Reilly's direction, besides the 3 games per week that you mentioned (which require an almost continuous all-out effort, with a considerable amount of physical contact)there are practices, which usually last well over 2 hours. The players are expected to practice as hard as they play(which is pretty hard, if you've noticed-there's enough contact in practice that at least 2 players have gotten concussions in practice this year). They have likely either played and/or practiced at least 6 days a week, with the exception of 3 days off for Christmas, since October 15, and they had open gyms before that. Players who may not be participating in a particular scrimmage in practice are expected to stand along the sideline while they observe, so there's no sitting around relaxing by anyone at practice. And, yes, they have full-scale practice on game days as well, home or away.

    Then there's the 2 or 3 day a week 45 minute individual shooting sessions and the twice-weekly weightlifting sessions.

    Let's not forget the rigors of attending class, studying, doing homework, writing papers, etc. Throw in a few 4 hour bus trips for away games.

    The issue of players wearing down is not new OR exclusive to Coach Reilly's teams. With a single exception over his 9 years here, Coach Slocum's teams (who were known to practice hard all the way through the end of every season) always showed considerable signs of fatigue somewhere around February 5 each year and rarely played better after that date than before it. Some coaches just don't want to admit that teams and players can wear down, even after 4 months of continuous effort. However, as Bob commented above, many other top level coaches believe that, after February 1, you scale practice back to shootarounds and walk-throughs. Apparently, Coach Reilly and Coach Slocum are not in this group.

    fauves, I hope that gives you an idea of what is involved.

  26. I second what gannon74 says about running out of gas. There is so much more than those 40 minute games that goes into it. Plus for the younger guys, high school basketball usually starts a month later and is winding up this time of year. Its a whole new level here.

    BMOC- I respect Reilly for the work he has done, but throwing out his 23-years of experience as a shield to any type of critiquing of team makes talking about the team futile. Why should we even discuss the team on the blog if immediately its "coach has 23 years of experience, we cant critique him"? No coach thinks of every situation or is always right. Am I right or anyone right? Who knows, but I think its worth talking about.

    Even LeBron James doesn't play all 48 minutes for the Cavs, and everyone knows that he is practically the only thing keeping that team from looking like the Timberwolves. So I'm unconvinced of the harm in resting our star George for 3 minutes a game and letting Preston play.

  27. Players say that all gannon74 said amounts to about 4 hours a day devoted to basketball.

    I've seen practices ... it is all out ... intense ... physical ... full speed ... every drill ... every scrimmage ... get your water as you go ... all practice long. Only "break" is when shooting foul shots.

    I still don't get a fairly intense hour or so practice on game day ... not good physiologically.

  28. Interesting article by Thomas Emma, former Duke and NBA player having a master degree related to sport conditioning:

  29. Why is everyone just now starting to criticize the coaches practice conditions when he's been doing it since he first got here? Even though the past 2 years we had a different cast of characters, I'm sure they all didn't come from schools that had the same rigorous practice scheme. So they came into it just as this team has and they handled it.

    Let's quit making excuses for this team. The talent of this team is just not up to where others have been. Were not losing because were tired, were losing because were playing better teams (and MUCH BETTER teams most of the time).

  30. cc3 - I've mentioned practices on game day before.

    Jim started this discussion w/ the comment that a non- conference game may contribute to fatiquing the team when important conference games are coming up. Reasonable concern imo.

    Fatique can be one contributer to team performance as well as others ... like turn overs or as you mention.

  31. cc3-

    Ironic that you should bring up past years, because I have been told that in the past 2 contending seasons, GU practices WERE reduced in frequency and intensity compared to this season. The fact that this season is being managed differently points to a theory I have had all along that Coach is treating this season as a learning experience/weeding out exercise (to find who he can trust to work the way he wants them to for reference in future years), not a year when he expected to contend.

    cc3, I'd prefer that you decide where you stand on this team. You try to make yourself sound like you're buddies with the players(an attempt to be privvy to confidential information?), then you make comments here like your latest, that people are making excuses for them, in effect severely criticizing the players.

    No one is making excuses for the players. We have been explaining WHY their performances seem to be sliding in the last few games. Of course this team has a shortage, talent-wise, compared to many of the teams they've been playing-and beating. The simple fact that they have the conference record that they do is a testament to their effort, toughness, and ability to persevere. Being worn down physically makes it increasingly difficult to continue to contend in/win these games. That's the point I, and I believe, others who have similarly commented, are trying to make.

    The players are NOT responsible for the talent level on this team. I don't see any effort shortage. They're doing what they can with what they've got. If you're going to criticize, be more specific. I'm not buying that the players could do more.

  32. I agree there is no lack of effort whatsoever. If effort consistently won games, we would be above and beyond everyone! I'm not saying players don't have talent, but the team overall is not as talented as many of the teams we've played.

    I know several of the players on the team. I don't get any confidential info, i don't ask for it. I was talking to 2 players who graduated last year and they said the practices were just as intense and frequent as they are now.

    I've said all along this team is lacking talent. Johnson has it, Brannen has it when he's not in foul trouble. Others hustle tremendously, are work horses and have some talent, but overall were a 1-2 man show.

  33. Not disputing you or your source, cc3, just reporting that several players that played on the team last year and this year have told me that there were less practices and less intense practices down the stretch last year.

    I agree on Brannen and Johnson. I think Simmons can join your list should he get in better shape and Furno should be considered if he is able to put on some muscle (20 pounds at least).

    Piotrowicz, IMO, could be a fine complimentary situation player in the mold of Corey Knight if he can continue to build himself up and recover his shooting touch(if anyone remembers Knight's outside shooting troubles during HIS sophomore year, that could happen). Bouldes, too, needs to continue to develop physically and diversify his game to become more of an offensive threat. I think, given the acquisition of some impact players at other positions, the point guards currently on the roster would be sufficient, particularly if Bryant can become a contributor.

    Who knows what the story is with Harris (coming back?), Woodbury(ditto), Swann(has potential offensively, but iffy on D), and Crouch(decent on D, but offensively?)?

    Impact scorers at either the 2 or 3 and the 5 are the biggest needs on the Knights' shopping list this off-season. Of course, if player(s) leave that were expected to stay, then recruits at those position(s) would also be needed. Besides Scandrett's and Demski's, anyone know how many scholarships are out there to be used?

  34. Gannon- I agree with you. Simmons and Furno can definitely be added to that list, they just need to get into better shape (Simmons - endurance, stamina, etc; Furno - definitely a good 20 would be nice!!) I love what Bouldes has shown so far... I like his confidence. Crouch has shown sparks recently, but Swann... I just don't know. I think once Bryant gets worked in, he'll be a factor as well.

    But right now, at this moment, Johnson and Brannen are the only ones that really have true, natural talent that shows. There are many that have the potential, and some that have even more potential (as in almost definitely going to be big players), but right now it's Johnson and Brannen in the solid talent department and Johnson and Scandrett in the leadership department.

    Also, Gannon74, I totally agree about Steve. He remind me SO much of Knight. Not a starting point guard necessarily, but a guy that can come in and give you solid minutes. Also, I can see in the future, Steve and (insert starting point guard) playing together just as Lindsey and Knight did last year. The reason I didn't add Steve in the above list is because I think where he's at now is where he's going to be. Not a huge scorer, nothing spectacular, but a guy that will give 100% effort, will be good for around 10 points a game, and will be an all-around stats guy (rebounds, assists, steals, etc).