Thursday, October 28, 2010

We're Number ... 4?

The PSAC announced its preseason coaches poll today, with Gannon tabbed #4. What exactly does that mean? Absolutely nothing. Seriously. You're better off guessing what Cleve Wright's going to eat for lunch on Aug. 25 of next year. (My money's on Spaghettio's.)

Let's take a look at what the experts said about our Golden Knights last year. First, the Knights were among "others receiving votes" in the 2009-10 NABC preseason Top 25. Even more comical was the predicted finish of the PSAC West last year. The coaches forecasted: IUP (which was a no-brainer), Cal, Gannon, Slippery Rock, Mercyhurst, Edinboro, Clarion, and Lock Haven (an other no-brainer in part because their coach is a no-brainer). Cal and Slippery Rock didn't even make the playoffs while Clarion surged to second place.

Here's my predicted finish for how the West will be won this season. My methodology is simple: IUP is first, Lock Haven is last, and everyone else will be picked at random. Let's look after the season and see if my technique is more accurate than the PSAC coaches. I'm actually going to write names of the 6 remaining schools on scrap paper and pick them out of a Gannon hat. Here goes:
1. IUP
2. Cal
3. Mercyhurst
4. Edinboro
5. Clarion
6. Gannon
7. Slippery Rock
8. Lock Haven

So when Gannon comes in second, I'm sure someone will say, "Ha ha! You thought they were going to miss the playoffs!" I'll blame my hat.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Le Troy Nesmith

One of my all-time favorite interview subjects -- no matter what school, sport, or gender -- was former Golden Knight All-American Troy Nesmith. I recall conducting a pre-season interview him and Steve Moyer together in the Gannon library. The always extremely confident Nesmith said something like, "I think we're the best backcourt in Division II basketball, and maybe one of the best in all of college basketball." Nesmith was skilled at shooting both the ball and his mouth off.

I was excited when I did a Google search tonight for "Troy Nesmith" and came across a video interview about his European professional basketball career. Watch and listen to it by clicking here. Does he seem different to you?

Here are a few other Nesmith-related stories. I love the English-translated headlines:
* Troy Nesmith, born leader
* Troy Nesmith returned to Alsace. This story makes no sense to me.
* The favorite Dessenheim. Not much value here, except a good picture of Nesmith rebounding.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ace of Knights

Dave Lanahan, a co-worker of mine at Jameson Publishing and former basketball player at Mercyhurst College, loves talking Gannon Hoops. Especially after the Knights lose. Regrettably, he was very chatty last year. So even though it's been 258 days since GU lost the Hurst, Dave was talking Gannon basketball today. He asked if I had heard about the former Gannon basketball player who was participating in the World Series of Poker. Here's a partial transcript of the ESPN broadcast that Lanahan heard:
00:40:40 And johnny lodden waiting on the turn.
00:40:47 It's an 8 of hearts.
00:40:54 The $9 million top prize is enough for him.
00:41:02 And checks it on board.
00:41:02 Berkey from los angeles.
00:41:03 Berkey played basketball at gannon university in pennsylvania.
00:41:08 The river card, 5 of diamonds.
00:41:15 Both unimpressed by the diamonds.
00:41:22 He says, I got jacks.
00:41:25 And that's a winner.

First, most of what was said there made no sense to me -- including the Gannon basketball reference. There wasn't a guy named Berkey from Los Angeles who played for the Knights. So what in the name of Mike Kopas is going on?

Thanks to the Gannon Hoops research team (that would be my wife Barbara), it appears the ESPN announcers misspoke when they said "basketball." Matt Berkey (pictured above) played baseball at Gannon, pitching from 2002-05. He's listed at #5 in Opponents Batting Average (.318) and #7 on Gannon's all-time list for best Earned Run Average (7.39). Those stats reveal how stunningly unspectacular pitching has been at Gannon over the years. (A kid with a 9.39 ERA and .350 opponents batting average is on of the school's all-time best list? Do the other guys throw underhand?)

So no ex-Gannon basketball player is raking in big money at the World Series of Poker. Nuts. I was hoping I could get familiar enough with the game to some day say with a straight face, "I want to get my money in with the worst hands, suck, and double up" and "before you can seize it, you better flop it."

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Knights Keep On Coming

Gannon SSID (Super Sports Information Director) Dan Teliski sent me an email yesterday informing me that complete bios for the men's basketball team are now online. Click here for the team roster and then click on the player's name who you want more info on.

But don't click just yet. I came across two very interesting facts while doing my clicking on the roster:
1. The Knights have named a new assistant coach. He's Matt Stearsman (see photo) and he comes to GU from NAIA St. Catherine (Ky.) College, which I have to admit I've never heard of before. Nuts -- I thought I knew every U.S. college that had a basketball team! Stearsman coached previously for two seasons at NAIA Oklahoma City University where former Kentucky Wesleyan coach Ray Harper jumped to before KWC was placed on probation. My guess is that there's a connection between Harper and John Reilly, who both coached in Owensboro, Ky. -- Harper at Wesleyan and Reilly down the street (literally) at Brescia.

2. You probably already knew that Mercyhurst Prep grad John Eisenman was walking on for the Knights, but did you know that he's the son of Nancy Eisenman and former Gannon athletic director and hoopster Howard "Bud" Elwell? Not to put any pressure on John, but Bud registered 253 points between 1951-54. You'd better score at least 50 points this year or you're going to hear it at the dinner table all off-season.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gannon Team Photo

Thanks for the heads up from Gannon SSID Dan Teliski and GUBBFWLR that the team photo is now online at Here are the photo IDs:

Front row (L-R): Kelvin Agee (12), Kareem Brown (5), Anthony Clagett (10), Steve Piotrowicz (3), John Eisenman (4), Danard Crouch (20), and Ramon Smith (32). Back row: Alvin Tucker (15), Darrell Blanton (40), Stephen Battle (30), Travis Brannen (42), Tanner Furno (21), Dennis Rumph (2), Clinton Springer-Williams (1), and Malcom Woodbury (25).

Personal note: My daughter's favorite player is the guy whose uniform number matches her age. Past faves have been Joe Lindsey (3) and Piotrowicz (4). Congratulations Kareem Brown!