Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Respect The Game"

I'm not sure which of my coaches at Gannon made that statement. "Respect the game." It might have been Ruby, Reilly, or Rorie (Pugliese) -- maybe all of them said it at one time or another. Dukiet, Chapman, and Kalbugh echoed the same sentiment. Above all, respect the game. Examples of disrespecting the game include not playing hard, goofing around during a game, and playing selfishly. If you're not hungry to play your best, then get off the freaking court so someone else can give an honest effort.

For those who witnessed Gannon's season-concluding 81-68 victory over Clarion Saturday at the Hammermill, you saw only one team who respected the game. (For a hint of who that was, check the scoreboard.)

To illustrate my point, let me share with you a conversation that was overheard between two Clarion players during a first-half substitution yesterday:
Player Checking In: "Where are you at?"
Player On The Court: "Who cares?"
Player Checking In: "I hear ya."

That craptastic attitude aligns with what I saw from other Golden Eagles yesterday -- getting beat down the floor repeatedly, laughing despite a 20-point deficit, getting beat down the floor repeatedly, slowly walking off the court when substituted for, getting beat down the floor repeatedly, not paying attention during timeouts, getting beat down the floor repeatedly, hogging the ball instead of running the offense, and getting beat down the floor repeatedly. That one statement was repeated for effect because it led to Gannon's 50-point, 65%-shooting outburst in the first half. The Knights didn't suddenly become an offensive juggernaut without some help from Clarion.

I don't mean to turn this into a flogging of the Golden Eagles. It just fries me to see guys with so much God-given ability waste it, even if for just one game. I would have killed to play 20 minutes in one college game, even if it was "meaningless" according to the conference standings.

Gannon played Saturday like they were still alive for a postseason berth. Every Knight who received playing time hustled, defended, rebounded, and passed the ball. They tried to take charges, sacrificing their body for the team. Even the guys who didn't play were intense. They rooted for their teammates on both ends of the floor. Why did the Gannon players care so much more than their Clarion counterparts?

Simple. Because John Reilly and his relentless coaching staff have the utmost respect for the game, and they've inculcated that belief into their players. I know there's been a lot of debate this season regarding Reilly's recruiting, substitution pattern, and offensive game plan. But he undeniably possesses the two most important fundamentals for a basketball coach:
1. Deeply care about the integrity of the game and about your players as students, athletes, and human beings.
2. Get your players to care, too. Make sure they play like madmen every drill and every game possession.

The Knights didn't make the playoffs this year, but they certainly respected the game from the season's opening tip to its final possession. (Why else did Riles call timeout with 20 seconds left and a 15-point lead?). Having respect for the game will pay dividends for the Gannon program in future seasons, including next year.

33 comments:

  1. Too bad the season ended tonight. The Knights looked like they should have all yr, ...intense..
    Good win to build on.
    Also big cheer for the wrestling team.

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  2. 2 GOOD wins for the Gannon Basketball Teams. Too bad the season ends...but good momentum going into the off season.

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  3. Well that was two good games by both teams out there tonight! The Men played really well in the 1st half and were shooting lights out. And to touch on the Women's game....who knew that Shanna Thompson could shoot the 3 like that? That was a fun night! And also congrats to the GU wrestling team for finishing 3rd at regionals.

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  4. Fun night ... you don't have too many opportunities ti end the season with a win.

    Kleber and Thompson were amazing. It was enjoyable to watch them play that up-tempo. Though if they played that up-tempo against an Edinboro or Cal, the result would not have been pretty.

    And every senior made at least one three-pointer.

    Hopefully this week can give us a good feeling into the off-season and last into next year.

    Thanks to all the seniors for representing GU with class and for playing hard to the end. I can't say the same for the Clarion seniors (or juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, for that matter).

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  5. Heard a disturbing word today that Agee might not be back. I don't want to spread any pain but did anyone else hear that it may not have been Agee's ankle that kept him out of the game?

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  6. GU Fanman: Are you serious? This may explain partially why he did not play on Wednesday as well, what is the word exactly? If you don't mind anyway

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  7. Only hearsay, and I even hate to mention it bec if true its like a kick in the ____!! Yeow
    Been told he walked off the floor in a huff during practice. Why? Don't know. True? Don't Know.
    Maybe one of you guys with a little inside might know something. I'm fishin' too.

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  8. Jim...why did Reilly call timeout with 20 seconds left? I'm telling you that there are some people around me who thought that is not respecting the game...it could be interpreted as poor sportsmanship (rubbing their noses in it). At this point i'm not sure what camp I fall in because I don't know his motives, missed the post game interview and am rather perplexed by it. At first I thought he was emptying his bench...I'm just not sure that timeout was appropriate.

    Your other comments are dead on...That was a great effort by GU and Clarion mailed it in. Can't wait for next years team. I really think they'll be good...

    about Agee...better not to even speculate

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  9. Hard to believe that the season is over already. Went really fast, didn't it. Rather than the typical 4-month season that we used to have, it was exactly 3 months to the date (November 26th to February 26th), and didn't really get started until after Christmas. If you count the fact that the Hammermill Center was dark during all but a couple of dates in November and December, and for that very long stretch from November 28th to December 18th, the home portion of the season was not much more than two months long. Without even considering the fact that Gannon didn't make the playoffs, it seems like the season should still have another month to go. Let's hope that next season's schedule is better, and that there aren't the big gaps in it that we had this year.

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  10. 1) coach Reilly and the entire Gannon nation respect the game because they play the way the game was meant to be played.
    2) during the late timeout Coach Reilly "coached" the moment. Claggett had run into a jam and he was explaining what he needs to do in situations like that. Also, a very emotion Danard and Travis thanked the rest of the team for "making it a great going out party". There was nothing wrong withthe time out, it wasn't needed, but was not unsportsmanlike. (calling timeouts and continuing to foul when you're down by 10 points with 8 seconds left is a different topic).
    3) I agree that we should not speculate about any player leaving or who's coming until we see it in print. However, it wouldn't surprise me if Agee left. You can telljust by the way he carries himself on and off the court that he has an attitude. I've said the whole season I could see him leaving for a "better" program even trying for D1. I'd hate to see him leave, and any of the underclassmen, but people gotta do what they need to do. My thought is,, would it be that big of a loss? Look what we did these past 2 games without him. Not saying I wanna see him go or anyone but gotta find the positives too. "no player is above the team".
    4) Eisenman blanton and Tucker were all on the bench for both past 2 games.

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  11. A lot of speculation regarding Agee- I, too had heard that the ankle was not the issue, and watching him warm up Wednesday and Saturday seemed to verify that.

    IF Agee were to leave, that would make him one of those guys that is moving from school to school to school every year, which gives himm a less-than-ideal reputation. Most coaches have a tendency to shy away from those type of players. He also has family responsibilities that he may want to stay near that may limit his posssible destinations. All these factors may make it difficult to easily find another full-scholarship gig.

    IF Agee were to leave, I cannot see him competing on the DI level. He's more than capable at DII, but he's not really all that physically strong, he is careless with the ball at times, his shooting is erratic, and he may have somewhat of a "me-first" attitude. I didn't see DI quickness, either.

    Although GU won both of the games without him, those were home games with the pressure of the playoffs gone against at least one opponent that didn't have much, if anything, to play for. A player like Agee's value is in games against tougher opponents and particularly on the road. He IS capable of athletic defense and long-range shooting that you need when you play tougher teams and away from home.

    IF Agee were to leave, add an outside-shooting 2 or 3 to the shopping list.

    Whether Agee leaves or not, I'm guessing there's a good possibility that there will be other players leaving, likely a couple that didn't see the court much.

    I really like Agee as a player, but if the rumors about what happened at the end of the year are true, you have to be concerned with his attitude. Even if things get smoothed over and he were to stay, you have to wonder whether he will go south at the drop of a hat at some point in the future, leaving the team in the lurch in mid-season with a lot more than 2 home games left. If that sounds familiar (hmmm-another mercurial outside-shooting guard/small forward comes to mind), GU's program certainly doesn't need that again.

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  12. Really, we're going to speculate on Agee leaving???

    OK, I'll say it, if Agee leaves than I put the responsibility squarely on the coaching staff. They recruit the players. They are constantly losing the players.

    The defection of players from Gannon over the last 6 years is UNPRECEDENTED. How many kids left under Reilly? How many left under Slocum? Under Dukeit? How many leave Mercyhurst?Eventually you have to say, "hey maybe it's not the kids fault".

    The kid was a redshirt frosh and I believe led the team in scoring or at least led the team for most of the season. I saw nothing wrong with the kid in his attitude or his performance. Of course I don't have all this "inside" information that people on this board seem to have.

    I asked not to speculate on Agee because I don't think it's fair to him...but if we're going to do it...

    Maybe next year, if Battle leaves we can talk about all his "attitude" problems also.

    Again, Reilly recruits the players. He offers them the scholarships. So let's just keep blaming the kids...

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  13. Let's hope all this is incorrect. The kid can play. He and Battles form a nice tandum with Furno for the coming years. Just a couple pieces and I am really looking forward to them in two years.
    fauves, I'm with you. If the kid leaves Riley should be right behind him. Enough is enough.

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  14. Battle does not have an attitude by any means. I wish they could recruit more of kids like him and I'm not just talking about talent. That kid is a Grade A Class Act! All-around great human being.

    Agee was a very good teammate and player, however, he got in trouble off the court quite often during the season (ala George Johnson). I'm under the strong impression that he was suspended the last 2 games of the season for "conduct detrimental to the team" during a practice.

    Agee is definitely not a D1 player, heck, at times he was barely a D2 player and even looked like he could fail at the D3 level when he went wild with the ball. I loved the kid on the court and I want him back; but if he's going to be a "cancer" to the team and school sometimes it's best to overlook the talent.

    I also agree that the turnover rate of players leaving is quite ridiculous, however, can you really put the blame all on Coach Reilly and staff as recruiters? A lot of these players are coming from small JUCO colleges in which I'd be willing to guess academics aren't a main focus. WELCOME TO GANNON! Not only do you have a coach who is going to make sure you are in "game shape" and then some and also assures you keep your grades up... you have a SCHOOL that does the same in terms of academics. Also, religious classes are required as well as other "gen-ed" classes that many other colleges (regardless of "level") do not require. Do you think that has nothing to do with it?

    I'm very content that not many players will be departing from the team minus the graduating seniors. I will keep the faith.

    Additionally, Slocum did have a good number of players leave under him. No, it was not anywhere near the number we've seen lately, but they were significant players (biggest one that comes to mind is Rich Bush... 3 years of nothing but trouble).

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  15. Really cc3...other than Rich Bush what significant player left under Jerry Slocum? Because there may be a couple more, but I sure can't come up with names...

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  16. Correction... I did mean to type "significant amount of players". Rich Bush was just the first player that came to mind.

    Some others (who were recruited and touted highly and then did nothing or left are)

    Ron Hollis (highly overrated)
    Chad Hunt (overrated and left)
    Tahron Briscoe (left)
    Iren Rainey (left)
    Bobby Bossman (joke!)
    Josh Swain (left)
    Kharmen Wingard (went to Daemen and did very well)
    as well as Ron Wright. (both actually did quite well against Gannon when they played them)
    I also believe Shannon Wiley started for a while and then disappeared off the face of the earth, but not 100% sure on that one.

    Make all the arguments you'd like, my point is that this isn't just Coach Reilly. It happens at all colleges. You recruit them, they come in with expectations higher than all get out, and then get upset with the way they are being handled.

    I'm at least grateful we don't have a coach like John Calipari, who is the best NBA recruiter in the land!

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  17. Its the off season for GU. So now its all speculation.
    I sure hope Agee sticks around.
    This I know for a fact, players just don't leave sometimes THEY ARE ASKED TO LEAVE the program. If a player's bad attitude could infect the rest of the team, better to say adios amigo.

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  18. Players who have left ( or quit) GU in the last 6 yrs

    -Ron Hollis (started)
    -Shelby Chaney (started)
    -Josh Yankee (started)
    -Terrell Ergle
    -Marcus Lemon (started)
    -Brandon Altman (started)
    -Pat Washington (started)
    -Wil Johnson
    -Albert Varacaro
    -James Bryant (started)
    -Larry Swann (started)
    -Rob Broughton
    -Vince Mosley (started)
    -Ty Pace
    -Mook Bouldes (started)
    -Anthony Simmons
    -Shamai Santiago

    So your thought process is that a reason these players could of left was religious classes?? Some of these players on the list even started so it had nothing to do with playing time. Also in that time span GU has gotten a new assistant coach EVERY year because they cannot stand to be around this program. GU had 2 good yrs, but Reilly recruited none of those players. They were recruited by La'Troy Farrow (Coach Farrow). Notice no winning since he left? Outside of the 2 good years Gannon made it to the PSAC PLAYOFFS ONCE! Slocum was fired because his teams kept getting to the NCAA tournament and kept getting beat in the first round. Now we are happy because nobody quit the team during the season and although we didn't even QUALIFY for the PSAC tournament, we are optimistic about next year. But now we here kids might leave again, is this is surprise? Why are we settling for losing? And the comment about JUCO kids leaving all the time so its normal. All JUCO kids want to do is play and score points. So how do you explain starters playing alot of minutes and scoring transfering?

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  19. Truth a correction Jerry Slocum was not fired he went on his own to Youngstown for a lot more money. (May be sorry he did) Your list is missing a few:
    J. T. Jones
    Keven Lee
    Jerrell Sanders
    Isaac Reed
    Daren Dexter
    and this excludes the ones that walked on asked or other wise who left. Keep in mind we still do not know if we have any defections this year and all but one of these happen in a three year period. The two years where we had continuity happen to be the two years that Kyle Goldcamp was here. According to my student sources he was very instrumental holding that team together or it may have been more of the same.

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  20. Cc3 bossman and swain did not leave. hollis left during reilly's tenure.

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  21. cc3, shannon wiley was on the team but never started and hardly played, but you are right he also left.

    That's a handful of players during Slocum's whole tenure.

    I never meant for this to turn into a Reilly-bashing session...but it burns me that we are speculating about Agee and some have the nerve to blame him when Reilly, as good of a guy and as good as a coach as he may be, OBVIOUSLY, has a hard time MAINTAINING talent.

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  22. thefauves1: I do not see a Reilly bashing just the facts as they are. No one is attacking John just the program he is running which lacks a lot of continuity. People in the past said Gannon fans would not wait for him to build a program from the bottom up. Had he started doing it his first year and stuck with it we would have a good stable program of players who would come in as freshmen learn John's system and beable to contribute by their junior and senior year. Look at the playing time and contribution by some of the new players this year and tell me we would not have been better off with a couple of freshmen big men ready to go next year.

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  23. Here's another name to add to the list of players who departed early: George Johnson. All he did was lead Augusta State in total scoring and ppg in a program that is 25-3 and #5 in the nation. Somehow they "managed" his issues.

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  24. No, Bossman did not leave.. I was making the point about him and a few of the others that Slocum recruited them and they were awful. So Coach Reilly is not the only one who recruits players that are highly touted and turn out to be absolutely nothing.

    And of course August State is "managing" George's issues.. they're winning. Gannon "managed" George's issues his freshman and sophomore years.. ya know why? They were winning! George Johnson pushed poor sportsmanship to the bare minimum and took being passionate to the extreme. He couldn't stand to lose; so he couldn't "handle" last season. So his issues became more prevalent.

    To "Truth":

    -Ron Hollis (started)
    -- yes, but did nothing and was benched before he left
    -Shelby Chaney (started)
    -- he left. He had reasons, I'm sure, no defense of his departure.
    -Josh Yankee (started)
    -- 1) its Yanke. 2) he never started; he played one season playing in 17 games and a total of 59 minutes averaging 0.9ppg.
    -Terrell Ergle
    -- never came to Gannon
    -Marcus Lemon (started)
    -- was dismissed from Gannon (not the team; the school) due to academic issues
    -Brandon Altman (started)
    -- only started a few games and then was benched during season (thank God!) and then barely played; he was awful!
    -Pat Washington (started)
    -- he started sparingly (like Scandrett). left because of playing time.
    -Wil Johnson
    -- did you ever seem him play?! He made Behrend's players look like Duke!
    -Albert Varacaro
    -- WHO?!?!
    -James Bryant (started)
    -- started a few games and then benched because he disputed the style of play
    -Larry Swann (started)
    -- was benched at end of season and wanted to play. Unfortunately for him, his lack of scoring showed he did not want to play.
    -Rob Broughton
    -- you forgot to put that he started a few games and that season played a total of 109 minutes.
    -Vince Mosley (started)
    -- pursued his "NBA dream"; played with Bakersfield on NBADL for 6 games before being cut; only played 26 minutes total averaging 1.3ppg.
    -Ty Pace
    -- was never declared academically eligible to play
    -Mook Bouldes (started)
    -- started a few games and then benched for Batts, Bryant and Steve. Felt he deserved the position and frankly can't say I disagree with him.
    -Anthony Simmons
    -- know nothing about him besides his time at Gannon
    -Shamai Santiago
    -- WHO?!?!?!?!

    Also you forgot Corey Dotchin who left because of playing time. Sadly, I felt bad for the kid. Watching those games last year... you're trying to tell me he would have went in for a few minutes and did WORSE than the rest of the team?!?! Give the boy a chance!
    Andrew Sweny - no one has mentioned him. Is he at Gannon still?
    Jonathan Jones - you didn't mention him. Although, he left Gannon altogether after he lost his spot on the football team.

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  25. Some clarifications and opinion-

    -I don't think you can include any players recruited by the previous coach in the list of players that left because of Reilly's leadership and coaching style. Players leave all the time when coaches leave and they aren't as comfortable with the new coach. That refers to Hollis, Chaney, and Yanke.

    -Mosley left when he got offers to go pro. GU would've had to get lucky in getting the NCAA to award him another year of eligibility, which was unlikely.

    -Varcaro was a walk-on from Dubois (I think) that left on his own accord because he wanted to play, ended up going to and starting at W & J. Not a DII player.

    -Swann was a desperation move that either was going to be a home run or a strikeout. Except for the game @ Slippery Rock, that experiment was a dismal failure.

    -Can't use George Johnson's departure against Reilly. The kid was fine when he was out of the spotlight and not a team leader (as was the case his first two years @ GU), but when thrust into the spotlight as a team leader, his thirst for chaos took over and he became more detrimental to the team off the court than he was productive on it. Sure, he's done great @ Augusta, but you don't really think he's the lead dog down there, do you? He walked into a perfect setup where all he had to do was play ball and keep his mouth shut, which I'm sure the veterans on the team are making sure he does.

    -There's no question that Reilly's style is not for everyone. My theory is that it's becoming increasingly difficult to tell in advance whether a player can handle the level of effort and the insistence on ability to defend that is demanded of his players. That's why so many leave. I'm not defending his style, just theorizing as to why players are leaving.

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  26. If you're a coach and you can't retain players or get players to buy in, your reign will be rocky (and probably short), as Reilly's has been(regardless of the reason)...

    Same applies in business and in life.

    G74, not sure if I agree with your take on the GJ thing. If George wasn't a leader, why did coach put him in a position to lead? A good manager gets the best out of his people and understands their strengths and weaknesses. If George is simply a cog, then make him a cog in the machine and let others be your leaders. Your best player does not need to be your leader (see Steve P this year).

    All these people who seem to dislike GJ for what he did to Gannon...as an average fan, he seemed like a great player and a good guy. He played hard. He was unselfish on the floor. Why wouldn't you want to work out your differences with a player like this??? I was saddened he was not at Senior Night. In my mind, I would have loved to have GJ an alumni, not an advesary, who we now shouldn't like?!?

    If a couple of kids leave (see Slocum), then you can look at the kids. If kids are constantly leaving, than maybe you look at the coach.

    Reilly obviously knows the game and knows how to coach. He seems really really rigid. He coaches his style, my way or the highway type of attitude, with no flexibility. In an ideal world, all the kids would get this and embrace this.

    Hopefully Agee will stay. Because honestly, it's a LOSE/LOSE for him and Gannon. Agee and Battle have the opportunity to do something special and to potentially go down as GU greats. If I'm Reilly, I'm doing whatever I can, within reason to get Agee to stay...

    And hopefully we'll all be talking playoffs next year.

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  27. fauves - GJ's problems went beyond the team... they rooted to problems with Gannon. I really feel that if Coach Reilly could have he would have done every thing to keep him. However, I think his "off court" problems at Gannon were out of Coach Reilly's hands.

    Gannon74 is dead-on about GJ's role however. "Why did Coach put him in a position to lead?" Who else would he have put in that position? The PG was different each game and even when Steve took over I don't think many players are going to respect a walk-on immediately (but he's proven himself and definitely was one of the leaders this year), Brannen, who was this year's obvious leader, was new to Gannon and for him to be a leader would be stepping on those who did return's toes (i.e. George). And it definitely wasn't going to be Furno. George was the only choice. He can be a leader on the court, ability-wise, but he's not a team leader. Team leaders are Kyle Goldcamp, Pierre Howard, Tyler, Cory Knight, Geoff Husted, Josh Morgan, Travis Brannen this year, Joe Lindsey, Troy Nesmith, Steve Moyer and even Malcolm Woodbury. I know he doesn't fit since the rest were all big players, but a leader is not just a person who can do it on the court.. it's a player who can help control others, get each other going, give advice, cheer them on, be positive and not cause adversity off the court. Dave Wilson was a great leader. On the court he put his heart into it, on the bench he was always pointing out things to players (esp. Kyle) and cheering for his team. That was not George. George was an "on the court" player and couldn't handle being the "star". At August State he was not the "star". He was one of their best players, but look at the stats of everyone else.. everyone played their part. Last year it was pretty much just George. Tanner here, Travis there, and everyone else a little sometimes. It was all George.. that's not him.

    For a coach, it should be the "my way or highway" mentality. A coach is being paid to do what he/she can to win games while maintaining a good student-athlete image (well most schools at least).. the players are being "paid" to be here (scholarships, etc). They're not paying thousands of dollars to come play, they're being paid thousands of dollars to play... if they don't like a coach's methodology, then they lose that money and they go elsewhere.

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  28. Well actually cc3, on this years team, Steve P, not Travis Brannen was the leader. Coach Reilly repeated that time and time again in his post game show.

    And I reiterate, if coach knew GJ couldn't lead, why was he in that position? If coach did not know this, why not??? He had the kid for 2 years. He recruited him. I've managed people before...i know what they can and can't do. If I ask an employee to do something they are not capable of, then that falls on me as a manager...

    I know nothing about GJ's off the court issues.

    And any manager (coach, CEO, executive, etc) who has no flexibility; their message is probably going to burn out really quickly.

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  29. CC3, I agree with you that GJ thrives in the type of situation he's at this year at Augusta State.

    It's too bad that GU could not put GJ in a position like that here.

    Nothing that anyone will say will change my feeling that I was saddened at Senior Night that we did not get to celebrate GJ's career.

    I'm done commenting on this subject.

    GO Knights.

    Kelvin please stay...the rewards will be worth it! (not that I think he reads this).

    And let's hope for an awesome recruiting class of great guys, because regardless I hate that GU basketball is over and that there is a home game at MC not GU tonight!!

    (I'll be at the Lucinda Williams concert on MC Campus)

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  30. fauves-regarding Johnson, some of what you said is right on

    "seemed like a great player...He played hard. He was unselfish on the floor."

    But, as I said, that was on the floor in games and in public. When in front of the cameras, he always said the right thing.

    The problems with George were away from game day. His private persona was almost a polar opposite from what we saw in public.

    Cc3 is right, George was not a leader by nature, but he was the one that HAD to be the leader of last year's team-there wasn't anyone else. Having played extensively for 2 years and having gained playoff experience in the process, he was the only choice. Sometimes, as a coach or a boss, you give the responsibility of leading the group to someone to force him to grow. Reilly tried that with Johnson.

    Unfortunately, his natural disposition is that of a disruptor, not a conciliator. I'm told he lived for conflict, whether it was as minor as continually teasing a teammate about his poor shooting or as serious as punching a teammate or two in practice. He was always needling, always pushing everyone the wrong way.

    And I don't think you can say that Reilly didn't try to "work out your differences with a player like this..." He contacted Johnson after George left in mid-season last year and persuaded him to return (even thought the concensus of the rest of the team was that he not come back). When he did return, he was right back on the floor and stayed there. He got every chance.

    I don't think we have to hate George Johnson, (although judging from several Facebook posts that he appears to have made to former teammates, he has plenty of hate for Gannon, Gannon fans, Erie, and pretty much everyone involved). We can respect him as a player and hope that his life goes the way he would like it to. It would've been great to have him on the court this past year, and see him at Senior Night, but, given all the conflict that likely would have accompanied that, it just wasn't going to work.

    As for Agee, IF he does leave, Reilly may have to consider tweaking his coaching methods somewhat. Although many of the players that have left were not huge losses and were not impact players, there does seem to be a pattern forming that's not desirable.

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  31. Forgot to mention another point.

    In reference to Bob's earlier post about Reilly building a program from the ground up. He is absolutely right. I have often said, that's the best way to do it. It would indeed be ideal to have a stable group of players who are familiar with John's system, including a couple freshmen post players who would be ready to step in next season. I agree 100%.

    However, if Reilly DID do it that way, he would no longer be coaching here. People were howling for his job after his second season. He had to abandon his original plan. There's no question that bringing in the juco players and having Goldcamp land on the doorstep in time for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons saved his job.

    I think that, in the last couple years, Reilly has begun trying to integrate younger players into his system. First, he brought in Furno for 2009-2010, intending to redshirt him. This year, he brought in Agee and Battle with freshman eligibility along with Springer-Williams with 3 years to play. It's a start.

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  32. Steve and Travis were both team leaders this year. Steve was the "team leader" in sense of conducting the team and keeping it together, however, Travis became a leader midway through the season when his play tripled. Not just because of stats, but because of his hustle, his heart, energy, everything increased tremendously. I think he realized he NEEDED to step up as an on the court leader and he did (look at the results for the last several games). Steve is the team's leader and will be next year more than likely, but Brannen was an outstanding team leader as well.

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