Tuesday, June 22, 2010

GU Recruit: Kareem Brown G 6-2 sr.

Today was like Christmas for us Gannon fans. Not to make student-athletes sound like a commodity, but we got a bunch of gifts today -- so many that we can't focus on all of them at the same time. Maybe the race car game will be more fun than it looked in the JCPenney catalog. Or maybe it will be like electric football; fun to look at and fiddle with, but frustrating beyond all get out when the game actually starts.

Two members of the recruiting class weren't a surprise to us. We shared information on Kelvin Agee on April 22 and provided details on Stephen Battle earlier this month. The most intriguing of the rest of the class is Kareem Brown, the 6-foot-2 senior transfer from Division I Coppin State (Md.). DI transfers are always attention-getting, but making Brown even more interesting is that he was Coppin's leading scorer last year at 10.0 ppg and made the most threes (57) on the team.

I've heard some folks speculate that Coppin must be dreadful because their leading scorer averaged right at double figures. Of course those folks are speculating without having any facts, a centuries long tradition for us sports fans. Coppin State was just 8-22 last year (3-13, last place in the MEAC), but I think the main reasons for the low point totals are:
1. The Eagles rotated all 10 players on their roster; nobody averaged fewer than 15 minutes per game and nobody averaged more than 29.
2. The stats make me speculate that Coppin State played deliberately on offense and then on defense forced opponents to move the ball. The Eagles scored just 61 ppg and allowed only 67 ppg. Their 3-point field goal defense (opponents shot just 28.8% from beyond the arc) ranked in the top 10 nationally.

The burning question is why would a kid transfer from a school for his senior year after being the leading scorer as a junior? (I'm sure Augusta State fans are asking the same thing about some kid named George Johnson who their program just landed.) I was hoping that Coppin just experienced a coaching change, but that couldn't be further from the case. Ron "Fang" Mitchell -- why can't I have a nickname like that? -- will be on the Coppin sidelines for the 25th consecutive year this winter. And you don't stay around that long without winning. My man Fang is the six-time MEAC coach of the year, winning several league titles, and earning 4 NCAA bids. You might recall in 1997 when 15-seed Coppin State shocked #2-seed South Carolina in the first round of the NCAAs.

That was 13 years ago, but it might seem like longer for Eagles fans. For the past 5 years (maybe longer, Coppin's web site isn't as good as Gannon's), the Eagles haven't had a winning record. In fact, they're averaging 20 losses per season since 2005. They had a 13-game losing streak last year. Maybe Brown was sick of losing and jumped at the chance to win his final college season. Maybe John Reilly's Maryland connections kicked in. Maybe he talked with former Knight Joe Lindsey, who, like Brown, played his juco ball at Monroe (NY) Community College. We'll have to wait for Reilly's explanation when he appears next on Jim LeCorchick's radio show.

Here's more info on Brown, much of it thanks to Gannon SID Dan Teliski:

* Here's a game-by-game breakdown of Brown's 2009-2010 season at Coppin State
* He scored 23 at Navy on 8-for-15 shooting, including 7-of-10 from 3-point range.
* Other high scoring games were 18 vs. Florida A&M and at Morgan State, 17 vs. Maryland-Baltimore County and vs. Division II West Virginia Tech
* Against the big schools he had 11 at USC, 8 at Colorado, 7 at West Virginia, 7 at Oklahoma State, and 0 at Michigan
* He hit for 7 against Washington Adventist, the school formerly known as Columbia Union. That alone should have earned him the scholarship at Gannon!
* Transferred to Coppin State after spending two seasons at Monroe CC (2007-2009)
* As a sophomore, averaged 15 ppg, leading Monroe CC to a 30-7 record and a berth in the national tournament, where he was named to the national all-tournament team
* Participated in the NJCAA All-Star game
* As a freshman, averaged 12.6 ppg
* At New London (Conn.) High School, he was a two-time New Haven Register All-State selection and scored over 1,400 points
* Here's a photo of Brown in action at West Virginia
* This is him going in for a layup against Maryland Eastern Shore

Want to follow Kareem on Twitter? You can at http://www.twitter.com/kareem24. (Warning: Web page contains some offensive language.) The Coppin State logo is all over his page, so he's going to have to get that updated. And I hope Gannon has #24 available for him so he doesn't have to change his Twitter handle. I searched many of his 1,880 Twitter posts and didn't glean anything about his situation. I thought he might have said something about playing time or something like that. I do know now that he loves Kobe and the Lakers, he watches tons of basketball, and he has some sort of insomnia issue.

That was a ton of information, but the still unanswered question is, "What can Brown do for GU?" We'll find out in about 5 months.


  1. So transferring to a new school to play on a new team was not important enough to make Brown's Twitter page but the rest of that drivel was important enough? It will be interesting to see what kind of character this Brown will be for GU...

    Also, if Steve gets relegated to the bench with this new crop of guards, he should transfer back to Behrend instead of put up with that demotion. He proved he can play with anyone at this level, and if he isnt given the opportunity to play, that would be beyond absurd.

    As far as bringing in JUCO kids to win right now, I and any reasonable GU fan would be willing to put up with a down year if we felt the program was going in the right direction in terms of player development. If quality freshman were brought in to develop and given that chance, go for it. We'll see how Battle and Agee turn out, but Im not thrilled by these stop-gap JUCO measures continually. How about we build a solid program from the ground up, ala Butler?

  2. The problem with finding quality freshmen and taking a year or two to develop them is that, unlike you, there are many Gannon fans, some of them long-time "high roller" types (big donors with memories of past glory) who aren't quite as "reasonable" and patient regarding GU hoops-They expect great seasons every year and they certainly aren't willing to "put up with a down year", particularly when they feel that is what we just experienced last season.

    Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds just a year after going to the Elite 8, there are GU "fans" who are close to calling for Coach Reilly's dismissal over last season's embarassing(in their eyes) record, losses to former "doormat" opponents like Lake Erie and Urbana and the continuous mass exodus of players. Some can't fathom how recruits' talent, attitude, and work ethic could have been so badly misjudged that, for example, an undersized, unrecruited transfer from a local D-III school could become the starting point guard and a scrawny, unpolished redshirt candidate could become the starting center when these "fans" aren't sure those 2 kids are even talented enough to be on the team!

    Given that environment, Coach can't afford to have another down year while waiting for freshmen to develop, as much as he'd like to. He tried that a few years back, and it resulted in a 9-18 record, and some were howling for his scalp. The next year, he brought in a recruiting class heavy on JUCOs and upper classman transfers and had 2 fabulous years. Lesson learned. Unfortunately, that's the way it is at GU right now.

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  4. transfers are fine...gannon has a rich history of transfers...

    your painting of major donors driving gu recruiting is way off base...this is not kentucky. but reilly better win soon, because historically most coaches have won at gu. reilly has had 2 out of 5 good seasons. he is being judged on the performance of his teams and gu should be happy that *some* people care about the team (do people care about the other d2 team in town?).

  5. Please!

    I am all for Polish Power ...go Ivan Putski!!

    But if Steve can't adjust is he really any different than those who left last year due to playing time and practice difficulty?

    We should not be speaking for him...

    Far be it from me to criticise.. but where is the logic... if he can't compete against those new recruits why would he be upset..

    Free education? what is that $36,000 sounds like a pretty good job to me for a kid his age...

    As for Transfers... Why do we not like them? The team that went to the Elite 8 was transfer loaded? Did we forget that?

    And not all transfered for the 'greater glory' of Gannon... some were asked toleave, some were tossed out on their behinds... some left for greener pastures...

    We can sugar coat their intent AFTER the facts.. and heaven knows we cannot criticise the saints of seasons past... BUT BE REAL!

  6. You're right BMOC, we shouldn't be speaking for anyone, particularly a player.

    Who said Steve was upset? There were comments made by some who thought he wouldn't play much, based on the large number of players that were recruited at his position, but not any indication that HE was upset. If he didn't get upset about PT last year (with Batts popping in after football ended and Bryant showing up mid-year), I doubt he will start now. I highly doubt he is thinking about transferring. This has been all conjecture from individuals commenting here on this blog.

    By the way, it sounds like you're inferring that Steve is on scholarship. Is he now a scholarship player? I missed that announcement.

    As far as the impact of major donors, I wasn't insinuating they have any direct impact on recruiting, but that they do have a behind-the-scenes impact on who's coaching the team. After Reilly's second season, they had him all but fired (in fact, before his 3rd season, one of them told me that he WAS done at the end of that season, no matter what). I heard a lot of the same grumbling start last season, and more now that the new roster has been announced.

    Unless and until GU fans are willing to accept 2 or 3 consecutive losing seasons (news flash-they likely never will be), transfers, (not exclusively freshmen) will be a way of life. As so many have pointed out, they've been transferring in for a long time, and will continue to do so. That's what it takes to be competitive in D-II these days.

    And please, let's not play the "they're lucky that they have fans that care" card. You can be a fan and still be reasonable. That's not a good argument.

  7. Gannon 74
    I infered the scholarship from Senorita Roddy's comments somewhere along the line...

  8. BUT... in reviewing his Jimbo's latest comments in the "breaking news" post I suppose he isn't...

    Mea Culpa!

  9. Gannon74: If transfers are the only way to compete some one better call up Findlay and tell them they cannot be competative.

  10. Findlay has had a ton of transfers.. yes they've had many good true freshmen, but they've also had a ton of transfers... the year they lost to GVSU like 3-4 times they had 4 Division 1 transfers on the team (2 transferred just for their senior year).

  11. Steve, from what I've been told, has no athletic scholarships. He has some academic scholarships, but no athletic ones.

    Also, I heard Crouch and Woodbury were on "very minor" scholarships. Not sure what that is supposed to mean, but I'm guessing they're not getting much money from GU?!...

  12. Bob, I appreciate your efforts to correct me every chance you get (I can use all the help I can get), but in this case, you might be wrong. As cc3 said, I seem to remember that Findlay has mixed in transfers with true freshmen. You can do it that way when you've been allowed to build a program from the ground up without being expected to be competitive from Year 1. However, for every Findlay there is a Ky. Wesleyan who used to reload with transfers and contend for the nat'l crown every year.

    Since you seem to be a proponent of building through 4 year players (which, incidentally, I would LIKE to see, too, although it's unrealistic for Coach Reilly to do if he wants to keep coaching here), would you be willing to have a losing season (say 6-20 to 9-17) in year 1, followed by a season around .500 in Year 2, followed by a shot at contending in Year 3? Honestly? That's what you'd be facing. That's what happened back in Year 2 of Reilly's tenure, and a lot of "fans" hoped for his removal(I remember a lot of people saying "He's in over his head" and such things) back then.

    I had a conversation with Coach Reilly at his team camp 3 years ago and I asked him why more freshmen weren't being brought in, and he told me that the teams that contend aren't playing 19 and 20 year olds anymore, rather using more mature kids (22 through 24 year olds) that are transfers and/or kids that sat out a year or two here and there. That tells me 2 things: First, that's the philosophy he has adopted, and second, he knows that he won't be given the time to build from the ground up. We both know that he has no other choice at this point.

    Look at it this way, theoretically: If the team that was just announced(which is made up of 3 seniors, 6 juniors, a soph, and 2 frosh)stays together, they'll only need to bring in 3 players next year. Maybe, since they'll have 9 experienced players returning, they will only need to bring in one transfer (likely a junior- if at all), which will allow them to bring in 2 more frosh. Then, you'd have 6 seniors, (maybe) 2 juniors, 2 sophs, and 2 frosh in 2011-12. In 2012-13, with 6 openings, you could split them up with maybe 3 tranfers and 3 frosh, leaving them with 2 seniors, 5 juniors, 2 sophs, and 3 frosh. That's one solution that could create a better balance, but Reilly has no choice right now except the transfer route if he wants to win (and keep his job).

  13. gannon74 - couldn't agree more. An all freshmen team is going to go through horrible "growing pains" (unless he somehow brings in the likes of derrick rose, demarcus cousins, john wall, etc aka NOT GONNA HAPPEN). And those "growing pains" are not guaranteed to be just growing pains, they could be four years of pains. And if you have all frosh and it doesn't work out, then you get into the cutting of players to bring in new players which then leads to players departing on their own because 1) they don't like the new players and 2) they're afraid of losing their position to new players. Bringing in ALL transfers (pretty much like last year) is trouble as well. If they don't perform immediately, it's the coach's head by all fans. Also, you then would be losing most of those players the next year (this year) and be back to square one.

    However, if you can bring in a solid group of frosh, transfers, JUCOS, and even a senior transfer here or there (not too often though, that'd get annoying after awhile) you have exactly what Gannon74 described... openings each year to mix and match again. This year Crouch and Brannen and the new kid will be graduating. Next year you bring in 2 JUCOS and a frosh; 2 frosh and a JUCO; a frosh, transfer and a JUCO; etc. and then you can keep mixing and matching each year. This way the frosh will have experienced, talented players to learn from (rather than being thrown into the fire right away) and the coach will have "options" if an upperclassmen isn't cutting it at a certain point in the season.

    The only thing that still scares me is the lack of height. I know, I know.. lack of height doesn't mean anything, they still have more spaces open, etc. However, they don't have many spaces open unless we grow to the 18-man roster like last year or a bunch of them redshirt (I see 1-2 right now being redshirts). But we've learned from the GLIAC and now the PSAC, you gotta have some big enforcers. Simmons was exactly what I was looking for, if only he would've been in better shape and not injured most of the season last year. But someone like him or a Furno with about 40 more pounds haha I want someone inside who is going to PUNISH defenders (Geoff Husted, Kyle Goldcamp, Zaid Al-Khas, Josh Morgan, even Aurimas Truskauskas). These 6'6 180lbs guys may be able to jump and shoot (which if they can rebound, then I'll eat my words at the sight and praise them all immediately) but physicality-wise I'm afraid they're going to get the guts knocked out of them... that's just my opinion though... I'm (hoping I'm) probably dead wrong!

  14. Jim -- The fact that you searched 1,880 Twitter posts is troubling. :-)

    It looks like Kareem watched the England / US game on his phone on June 12.