Thursday, March 4, 2010

Season Superlatives

It's time to hand out the Hoopies -- this website's season-ending awards for "best this" and "worst that." It's the same thing like you had in your high school yearbook, minus the bad haircuts and "Biggest Flirt" award. I was going to do a live Internet telecast for these awards -- red carpet and all -- but my host for the awards (Jerrell Sanders) quit before the program went live. My backup host, Isaac Reid, quit after I said he wouldn't read the entire list of winners. So, we'll go with what we've got. Ladies and gentlemen, the 2009-2010 Hoopies!

Most Outstanding Player -- George Johnson: He led the Knights in scoring (15.2 ppg), three-pointers (60), assists (94), steals (40), and, much to my surprise, rebounding in PSAC play (7.4 rpg). But beyond that, he won three games in the closing moments, cashing in on free throws vs. Edinboro and Slippery Rock and draining a baseline jumper after, er, at the buzzer vs. Clarion. The Knights won 13 games this year. I think without Johnson they might have won 3 or 4. Seriously. Look at the season results and you'll see that he more-or-less carried Gannon in all their close wins this year.

Comeback Player (Literally) -- Johnson again: He took a ton of flak from Gannon fans for leaving his teammates high-and-dry, but you gotta give him credit, too, for swallowing his pride and rejoining the team.

Most Improved Player -- Tanner Furno and Steve Piotrowicz (tie): Watching them play early in the season I muttered to myself more than once an NFL term: "Physically unable to perform." I really thought in time these guys would prove to be unable to guard most anyone, unable to dribble by most anyone, and unable to score on most anyone in Division II play. Boy, did they prove me wrong. Despite his ugly duckling start, Furno should be the PSAC West freshman of the year and will be a force in the paint for years to come. As a starter for the last three games of the season, Piotrowicz was usually solid and occasionally spectacular. These guys excelled in prime time when most everyone expected them to have pine time.

Freshman of the Year -- Tanner Furno: I'm really excited to see how good he'll end up as a senior. I'm also excited to see how high he can actually jump. Following a shot in a late-season game, he actually touched the top of the square. How many other Gannon big men (besides Shanghai Matthews and Glen Summors) have done that?

Game of the Year -- Gannon 40, Northern Kentucky 38: After painful home losses to Urbana and Lake Erie, nobody expected the depleted Knights to compete with NKU's 5 Division I transfers. But a gutty defensive effort and clutch free throws by Preston Harris earned the Knights their first win of the season. The 13-13 halftime score also made this one a (Gary Miller) Classic. I was almost as excited after this win as I was for Gannon's regional final win vs. Kutztown last year. For the complete box score, click here.

Right Said Fred Award (One-Hit Wonder) -- Larry Swann at Slippery Rock: Here's Swann's All-American-like stat line vs. The Rock -- 24 points, 8-for-10 FG, 4-for-4 3FG, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 40 minutes of action. In his other 16 games, he averaged 3.7 ppg, shot 15-for-77 (that's a robust 19%) including just 7-for-36 on threes (that's 19% again). He closed the season with a DNP-CD (Did Not Play - Coach's Decision) before allegedly quitting the team at the end of the regular season. (To watch the video for Right Said Fred's one-hit wonder, click here. It's OK to admit you love it.)

Eternal Shame Award -- Corey Dotchin, Isaac Reid, Jonathon Jones, and Andrew Sweny: Dotchin (10 points), Reid (7), Jones (4), and Sweny (1) all quit the team before they could pass me (14 points) on Gannon's all-time career scoring list. For shame! Good news for me is that I'll be able to hold that over their heads for the rest of our lives, just like Tim Tarcson (15 points in 1987-88) and Kurt Norder (17 points from 97-99) can rub their stats in my face for eternity.

Quote of the Year -- Steve Piotrowicz: First, you have to know that Steve has been attending Gannon games with his dad Larry for many a winter. Now, do you recall when Steve was like 2-for-24 after the first 10 or so games of the season? He was averaging less than a point a game I think. According to Larry, after a game when Steve scored a handful of points, pushing him past the 14-point mark for the season, the first thing Steve said to his dad after coming out of the lockerroom was, "Pressure's off now. I passed Roddy on the scoring list." How can you not love that kid!

That's all for this season's Hoopies. Feel free to share your own superlatives from an extremely memorable 2009-2010 Gannon season.


  1. Most Spectacular Benchwarmers: Filmore Bouldes, James Bryant, Malcolm Woodbury. Mook and Bryant came to Gannon as some of the big name recruits for this season. Bryant was expected to start and contribute immediately and Mook was told to be at the Joe Lindsey level as only a freshman. Between the 2 of them I'm going to say they averaged about 8 mins per game for the season. After playing some decent minutes last season, Malcolm was thought to be a bench player this year to help ease the pain of all the seniors that graduated. Instead he ended up playing "Name that new Gannon player" while playing an astounding 40 some seconds this year.

    Biggest Heart- Alfonso Scandrett. Starting, off the bench, sick, injured, playing at the 3, 4, or 5, running court length game in an out, etc. Scandrett never showed signs of stopping. There were games he hobbled into the timeout with the aide of teammates and was back in the game after the 30 second break. This kid didn't care what his role was, he just wanted to play. And he cheered for everyone else and encouraged all continuously throughout the season. Hands down, Zo became my favorite quickly.

    WTF Award (Whoa, Tanner Furno)- after a near terrible start, Furn-dogg rebounded (literally) to have a near stellar second half. He went from unable to catch a pass to doing 360 alley oop dunks and slamming home missed shots.

    (Amost) Comeback Player- Mark Demski. If that was me (dealing with this years team) I wouldve just turned in the laces and called it a career and focuse on graduating. But not Demski. He tried to comeback and made it back for a good stretch of solid basketball. My hats off to Demski for his unbelievable desire and passion for the game. And the senior night basket may be my favorite shot ever.

    Biggest Bust- I'm sorry but Ive gotta get this one out. Can anyone think of Amy recent bigger busts than Preston Harris. Harris came to Gannon with such great hype as this prolific scorer, Moyer-esque 3 ability, Prep superstar. His career was highlighted by a 14 point performance in his junior/season year in which he started the game solely because they had no one else yet. I'd put Shelby Chaney in this category as well, but he actually got a chance to really be a bust, Preston got to be a bust by literally doing nothing. Plus I don't want to put anyone in as low as category as Chaney.

    Best Basketball Couple- Tyler Stoczynski/Carrie Nolan, Allison Rothlisberger/Preston Harris... Heard Tiffany Crocker and Kyle Goldcamp were an item?! Definitely the best matchup couple.

  2. Jim-

    Not to correct you, and not that it affects your point, but wasn't Belichik's quote on Kosar "Diminshing skills", not "Physically unable to perform"? That's an NFL classification for a player that has an injury in certain unusual circumstances.

    I do get your drift, though.

  3. Gannon74: Thanks for the correction -- much appreciated. I made the change. Those guys' skills are certainly anything but diminishing!

  4. Yahoo! on the Ladies. Big sweat on Sat nite against Cal U. They took us to OT at home earlier this yr. Its tough to beat a team 3 x in one yr. If we win tommarrow's PSAC championship we may face them a 4th this season in the Regionals. Look out their coach won the d2 nat'l champ last yr. It'll be a "Downtown Beatdown"

  5. Should be an interesting one on Saturday ... Cal's pressure is relentless. If GU gets back on defense and keeps the turnovers down, they should be in good shape.

    Regardless of what happens, Cal should be the #2 seed and should have two home games. Both teams will need to win two home games in the NCAA tourney, but they will surely be on a collision coursee for a fourth meeting.

    And in the men's tourney, it'll be IUP vs. Kutztown at East Stroudsburg. The Kutztown folks at the women's game think that they may need to win it to get an NCAA bid. But their at-large hopes got a little better as West Liberty and WV State made the finals of the WVIAC.

  6. If the girls' defense isn't a bit better than it was tonight, it could make for a long game. I understand 3's are not a high percentage shot and that kutztown missed their first few, but then they nailed a bunch in a row and we still gave them the entire perimeter. At one point Coach Wright yelled to one of the players "Put a hand in her face. At least make them think we know how to guard the 3". (obviously some sarcasm there).

    I did like the offense work though. Nolan on the outskirts and Tabron bustling through the inside. I would have to think we hae 3 of the most talented inside players in Vargas, Tabron and Thompson. I'm not saying there isn't one girl out there better than one of them, but collectively I can't see many teams having 3 tall, big inside forces like Gannon.

    Good game and can't wait to see Freeman vs. Brooque tomorrow (errr... Gannon vs. Cal).

    On a side note- saw several mens players from this seasons team cheering on the girls... Good to see for future seasons.

  7. The gals as much excitement as last yr's mens team. I'm sure we'll see Cal in the Regionals.

  8. Interesting stat that surprised me but pleased me greatly at the same time..

    2009-2010 Womens PSAC Final Attendance: 1513
    2008-2009 Mens PSAC Final Attendance: 1725

    only a difference of 2012. Like to see the girls getting the following like the guys...


  9. Let's not forget Villa played last nitght, along with the Bayhawks and MC hockey team was home. There were many distractions for the entertainment dollar.
    Dumb catagory. Villa wins dist 10 (not state) 3/4 page ONE story and photo in the ETN. Villa drew @500. GU is 33-0h my, wins PSAC #1 in the USA draws 1500 and gets a banner.
    To the ETN: Who or What was the bigger story?
    I'm not really complaing but that was an obvious no brainer.

  10. Agreed. Gannon is Season and 0 (W-L) and #1 in the country.

    Love Villa and support them, but Gannon isn't getting the respect.

    My idea... Ask ETN to keep Gannons fame quiet, then win national championship and see how ETN feels haha :-)

  11. What more coverage should the Times News have provided to the game? There was a long write-up and three pictures. We'd all love cover to cover coverage of Gannon but the Times News does have other reader interests to cover. If thats what you want, read The Gannon Knight. Plus, look at it this way: those Villa girls grew up most if not all of their lives in Erie. With the exception of Carrie Nolan, the Gannon girls grew up the most of their lives elsewhere. If forced to choose, you'd most likely spotlight covering the people who truely call Erie their hometown. In this instance, I dont even think that one or the other got short-changed.

    While on the topic of media coverage, I'd love to hear the girls' opinion of Mike "Flash" Gallagher and his incessant photo-taking. He's been doing this now for years and it gets old fast to see him flash a bright bulb on every single play. I would have to think that the girls (ang guys last year) would find his phototaking obnoxious and distracting. I know that some chest-thumping commenter here will write about putting distractions out of one's mind, etc, etc, etc. But I am willing to bet that no matter how hard you try, it is exceedingly difficult to ignore a bright flashes of light behind the hoop on every single possession. I was unable to make Friday's game, but I was told that when Flash was at his busiest, the Gannon girls were struggling to make shots. At no other sporting event have I ever seen the level of distracting flash photography that Flash Gallagher provides. Make sure you get a few good shots and then leave it be, not shooting away all game. Or adjust the camera settings to go flashless, it can be done.

  12. Jeremy: I was at the game and I don't remember him during the game (but I wasn't really paying attention past the hoop). I do remember him standing along the wall though, so that could definitely be the reason for the constant change of streaks in the game (i.e.- Gannon go on a 9-0 run, CU on a 8-0 run, GU on a 10-2 run, CU on a 6-1 run, etc).

    However, I did see him after the game. And as the team is celebrating and waiting for their names to be called to go out and get their plaque, he was lying on the ground snapping photos. Half the girls had to jump over him to get to their award (at one point, one of our girls almost fell). Then, as they were cutting down the net, nearly everyone is standing around taking pictures (no problem there), but half of my pictures came out blurred from his bulb shining off the backboard. I moved to several different spots and I don't know if he followed me or what, but they almost are all bad.

    I know a lot of people used his site last year to buy photos off of, but I agree that he's "too much". Why not shoot from an angle, so you'll still get a good pic of the shot AND you won't be in there eyes. If you want good action shots, why not buy an action camera (which does not required a flash) and you can snap some ridiculous amount of pics (like 50) in a matter of seconds and then you pick which one you want and it doesn't affect the girls.

    But, now to disagree with you, they do need more coverage in ETN of the girls. Last year when the guys made their run Gannon was front page, full page nearly every game. "GANNON IS GOLDEN", "KNIGHTS PREVAIL", etc. For the girls, we get a small banner and then an article.

    New Orleans won the Super Bowel (spelled wrong intentionally)... huge picture(s), front page almost full page. Do they have players who grew up in Erie? Canada girls hockey front page... Agosta plays at Mercyhurst in Erie, but is not from Erie.. so you're point about "home grown" I don't agree with it at all. I know women's basketball is not a "big thing" and I know Gannon is not a "huge name" or a "professional team" or a "home grown team", however, they are 33-0 and #1 in the nation. Villa is #1 in the state (40 something in the nation; don't know how they come up with that considering nearly every team plays within their own state)... #1 in Nation, #1 in State... take your pick.

  13. The NCAA announced the pairings for this weekends regional action. This year it is split into 2 subregional sites. On Friday at the Hammermill Center (1) Gannon 33-0 VS. (8) Fairmont State 21-9 at 6:pm. The second game will be (4) Fayetville State 20-9 vs. (5) Seton Hill 22-7 at 8:30. The winners of those 2 games will play on Saturday at 7:pm at the Hammermill. In the other sub regional to be played at California PA. (2) Cal PA 23-7 VS. (7) Virginia State 22-6. and the second game will be (3) West Liberty State 22-8 vs. (6) Millersville 23-5. The winners from the regionals will meet Monday March 15th at the site of the remaining highest seed. No ticket info has been announced as of yet.

  14. CoachCorey: The stats you cite very well could indicate Flash Gallagher's influence on the game. I also heard that when he paused the shooting got better. I can't believe that Gannon not only permits but apparently sanctions his behavior by purchasing the photos off of him for the website. He really needs to cut it out.

    As far as the ETN, I'm not saying that if the players are not hometown girls they deserve second class treatment. And I agree that #1 in the Nation is more exciting than the state. But I think if it comes down to a forced decision between the two, I can't completely fault the paper for choosing the local girls. With regards to the Super Bowl, there were not really many other sporting events going on that Sunday in Erie to my recollection, so the paper had more room to cover features like that. But where space is limited by multiple games in multiple sports, tough choices must be made.
    The unique nature of a sports department is that it is usually the last group of people working at a newspaper each night. Scores and stories usually don't make it in until well after 11, midnight, even later. Many times the editors are forced to make last minute decisions about content or layout that even the best planning can't remedy. Laying out a newspaper page is like a large puzzle with many moving parts. My point is that sometimes snap decisions, not necessarily a lack of respect for a particular team that dictates exactly who gets what coverage on what page of the paper. Besides, if Gannon got the full page, then Villa fans would call the Times and complain. Its a never ending cycle. I have a feeling that leading up to and during the Regional the girls will get solid coverage.

    Speaking of the regional, how about the befuddling ticket policies for the games? First, the season ticket holders have Tues, Wed, and Thurs to renew their tickets. Finally on Fri, general admission seats will be available. If it takes a season ticket holder 3 days to decide if they want to go to the biggest games of the year, maybe they shouldn't be season ticket holders in the first place. Secondly, in the (hopeful) event that the ladies make it to Monday's game, those General Admission tickets will not be on sale until the ticket window opening at 6. Thats just going to lead to long lines waiting for hours in the cold. And I sure hope that they can process a couple of thousand people in less than an hour before tipoff. If not, youll have angry people standing outside while action is on-going. I seriously hope that Gannon revisits the ticket policy and treats the general admission fans better.

  15. Any buzz on departures/Tranfers out?

    Besides Swann?

  16. Jeremy - The ticket policy is not Gannon's doing, that's NCAA. I thought it was Gannon as well (and it is dumb!), But i looked at other sites of schools hosting, and they have the same policy (or somewhat similar). One school season ticket holders have Monday - Friday to get tix and "general admission" tix are only available Saturday from 8-4 (they are playing Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday). Stupid!!

  17. Ditto on Gallagher flashing away. It is very annoying to me, but I can't see how it isn't distracting to the players. In this day and age of digital photography and sophisticated cameras, I find it difficult to believe he couldn't get comparable-quality photos without the flash. My theory is that he likes to be part of the action, and with the flash tripping 5 times each trip downcourt, you can't miss him. I don't think it's necessary.

    I've heard no further word on players leaving. Depending on who you listen to, there could only be as few 4 players returning. I'm sure Coach Reilly will put on a push to keep the players he wants back. so I'm willing to bet you can add one or two more to the list. IMO, of course.

  18. I guess Coach Reilly has been doing some seious recruiting the past few days and the one assistant (Fralick?!) has been gone for a few weeks on recruiting trips.

    I'm still banking on no less than 6 returning + I'm hearing more and more (from people off this site as well) that some players who left are coming back. Not sure how I feel about that. My belief is you walk away, you're not coming back. Now with George no one had a straight answer about why he left or if he technically "quit" or not, so I was more accepting of his return.

  19. cc3 - I'm with you, if you thumbed your nose at the program and left ... see ya and don't come begging back when things don't work out as you thought. Geo had some personal issues he had to take care and IMO different than if Reid or whom ever wants to come back.

    As the off season "practices" kick up will expose those leaving.

    Flash cameras on the floor of a game should be prohibited. Try it. Do a lay up and right before you finish, have someone snap your picture w/ a bright flashed reflex camera.

  20. GU: That's exactly how I feel. You left when the going got tough, and when it improved (even though not much, but still was an improvement) you want to come back... tough luck bud!

  21. I find the flashing annoying as well, but if it was distracting to the players and affected the game, I would think that he would be asked to stop. I have never heard of a player complaining. If they are focused on the rim, the flash shouldn't be a bother.

    In the 1980's, I remember the Gannon Knight photographer flashing every time a GU player took a shot. Nobody ever said anything.

  22. Jeremy - think you found your chest thumping commenter :-)

  23. Just incase anyone on here is confused like many people are.. ALL tickets are available Wednesday and Thursday (and they were today). The e-mail was a little confusing, making it sound like only season ticket holders could get them Tues, Weds, Thurs, BUT I know many people who got their general admission tix today.

    So ALL tix available Wed-Thu and then Friday all tix still available, but plush and chairbacks become general admission as well.

  24. haha right on coachcorey about the chest thumping! for anyone who discounts the distraction, Id like Flash Gallagher to show up at their place of work and continually shoot off the flash in their face for hours.

    thanks for the clarification on the tix, that makes much more sense to have other general admission tix available so late.

  25. Gannon's Johnson and Furno Receive PSAC Men's Basketball Post-Season Honors.

    Geo was first team and Furno was west division freshmen player of the year.