Monday, May 30, 2011

Just In Case You Forgot How Awesome Jerry Slocum Was

It's rare that a non-Gannon basketball story in May or June gets me geeked up, but I just found one. The website interviewed former GU coach and current Youngstown State basketball boss Jerry Slocum. Slocum was criticized in a March 2 Youngstown Vindicator article titled "Like It Or Not, Slocum Will Return," but this story is much more favorable.

Here are some Slocum quotes from the articles followed by links to them, which are broken down into a three-part series:

* "You can take your shots, and say the negative things that you want to say at me, but at least report the facts also. Report the facts, for example, the questions being asked at the press conferences are things like, 'Everyone thought you were going to get blown out by 20 tonight, are you happy that you didn’t get blown out?' or 'Do you feel that this was a wasted effort tonight?' Take your shots at me, that’s part of the job, but in the same breath, at least report the facts."

* "I have never, no matter how tough the losses have been, not answered a question put to me that was a well-phrased question. When you sit down in there and your heart is broken, you have never lost in your career, and now all of a sudden you are into your sixth year of misery because you can’t get this thing where you want it to be, it weighs on you every moment that you are awake, and you come so close ... and the first thing you get is a guy saying to you, 'Do you think tonight was a wasted effort.' I have never said, 'this is the end of the press conference,' but there is silence."

* "The reason why there is silence is because most of the people who criticize me do not have enough confidence that they can ask me a legitimate or intelligent basketball question. ... Some reporters just don’t get it. Their basketball IQ is not to the point where they can effectively ask a question. Whether or not they are good people is not for me to judge. I get paid to win basketball games, and I think we are on our way to doing that. Have some knowledge of what you are reporting on instead of asking some of the most ridiculous questions I have ever heard."

YSU Basketball Coach Jerry Slocum Interview, Part 1: Media Treatment

Jerry Slocum Interview, Part 2: 2011-12

Jerry Slocum Interview Part 3: How Winning Helps Recruiting

Thanks to Gannon Hoops follower JRD for the heads up on these articles.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Potential New Knight: Dmitry Martynenko jr. F/C 6-8

Those Gannon fans frustrated with the lack of size in Gannon's recruiting class will be overjoyed that the PSAC Letter of Intent webpage says the Knights have signed 6-foot-8 Dmitry Martynenko. The big man, who hails from Moscow, Russia, comes to Gannon from Kirtland Community College in Michigan. I don't know how much he weighs, but judging from the photo here, I'd guess about 250 pounds. And judging from this KCC team photo, he's all of 6-foot-8. Here's more info on Matrynenko:

* Named to the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) All-Conference 1st Team and All Region Team after both his freshman (2009-10) and sophomore (2010-11) seasons
* This past season led the Firebirds in both points (15.9 avg) and rebounds (9.2 avg)
* Shot 48.4% from the field, including 14-of-39 on threes, and 77.6% from the free throw line (128-for-165). The only blemish on his stat line is averaging 2.4 turnovers a game.
* NJCAA Division II Kirtland finished the season 18-11, losing in the District tournament
* Registered a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds in a 73-67 win over conference rival Oakland Community College
* Decked Delta College with a stat line of 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals
* Here's how the media reported on his efforts in Kirtland's win over Grand Rapids CC, the #5 team in the country: "The Raiders had no answer for Kirtland sophomore forward-center Dmitry Martynenko, who torched Grand Rapids for a game-high 28 points. That included knocking down 14-of-15 free throws. Martynenko also ripped down a team-best 14 rebounds and had 1 assist and 1 blocked shot."
* Tallied 20 points and 12 rebounds in a 69-58 victory over Macomb Community College
* Had 19 points and 9 rebounds in a win over Schoolcraft College. If you want to know Schoolcraft's awesome nickname, click here.
* Posted 18 points and 11 boards vs. Alpena CC
* Here's another action photo of Martynenko.

This was how the Kirtland sports info department summarized his freshman season:
Martynenko had a huge impact, leading KCC’s mens team in the three categories –- scoring (15.5 points), rebounds (8.1) and blocked shots (0.8). And he recorded 1.2 assists and 0.5 steals per game for Kirtland (9-19 overall, 5-11 conference).

He also showed his versatility, hitting from both inside and outside. For the season, Martynenko connected on 54.2% of his shots from the floor and 65% from the charity stripe. But the 6-8 center often surprised opponents by stepping outside, where he was able to knock down 32.9% (18-of-56) from beyond the three-point line.

“Dmitry had a very solid season for us, especially considering the following factors -- we were an all-freshmen team, we relied heavily on him to produce for us offensively, and the fact he had to adjust to not only playing basketball here in the United States but also had to adjust to the lifestyle here,” said Firebirds men's head coach Ty McGregor. “We look forward to his further development next season and are proud of the success he is having in the classroom, as well.”

For all his efforts, Martynenko received First-Team, all-conference honors and was selected to the MCCAA’s All-Freshman team. He was also invited to the conference’s mens all-star game in Jackson, tallying 9 points and 4 rebounds for the Eastern Division in its 147-142 loss to the Western Division.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Potential New Knight: T.J. Wilson F jr. 6-3

Before I share as much info as I could find on T.J. Wilson, let's talk about why I use the word "potential" in headlines for players who are only listed on the PSAC Letters of Intent web page and not formally announced by Gannon.

Several fans have questioned why Gannon hasn't publicized these athletes. "Jeremy" wrote in the comments of the April 30th entry: "Why has the Gannon Athletic Department not put out a press release on Belt and Wilson? It's clearly not an issue of rules forcing teams to keep it under wraps because a) the Blazek signing already happened and was announced b) the names are on the PSAC website. What an incredible waste of good PR for Gannon and a great chance to build positive momentum to a program saddled by negativity over the past half decade or so. If it wasn't for the good detective work of Jim, the fans wouldn't have a clue. Will the last one out of Gannon please turn off the lights?"

Actually, we should be asking for someone to shed light on the situation. Here's what I've been told about National Letters of Intent (NLIs). Those student-athletes listed on the PSAC site have signed National Letters of Intent. To make an NLI official, it must go to the PSAC and then to the NCAA. The PSAC posts all signings online after the league approves the NLI but before moving them onto the NCAA. So, signing an NLI to Gannon doesn't guarantee a student-athlete will end up at GU.

Of course, Gannon has the student-athletes sign NLIs because they want their written commitment to attend the school. There have been cases where players don’t eventually arrive at a school whether it’s because they changed their mind, don’t get accepted to the school, etc. Remember Terrell Eargle? He signed a National Letter of Intent to Gannon, but instead attended Alderson-Broaddus (W.Va.) where he became West Virginia Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the 2009-2010 season. (I prefer to remember him as the kid who missed the potential game-winning three-pointer in A-B's 67-65 second round NCAA loss at Gannon.)

So, although every fan wants to know information ASAP, colleges have to perform their due diligence to ensure everything is correct before announcing a signee. There are names on the PSAC NLI list in all sports who don’t show up at that school for one reason or another. The NLI is the first step in locking someone up -- the first of many steps. I've been told that once the entire Gannon hoops recruiting class is signed, accepted at GU, scholarship papers signed and approved, the school will announce them. But Gannon's not going to rush the process and risk NCAA violations or embarrassment by, well, pulling another Terrell Eargle.

So that's today's lesson on National Letters of Intent. Plus it's a lesson on assuming. Onto T.J. Wilson.

* Comes to Gannon from Frederick Community College in Frederick, Md. That's the same school Ramon Smith attended prior to transferring to Gannon ... and rumored to be transferring away now.
* Wilson played in 30 games, averaging 9.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, and 0.9 apg. Only 2 of his 118 field goals were three-pointers. He shot an impressive 58% from the field (118-for-202) but just 62% from the line (49-for-79).
* The Cougars were 24-7 last year. This is a photo of the school's mascot. Just kidding!
* Click here for a game-by-game breakdown of Wilson's season. Looks like his high game of the season was a 22-point, 11-rebound effort in a 121-117 OT win vs. Harcum College.
* Here's a YouTube clip of Wilson at Hayfield HS (Va.). He's the lefty with the crazy hops. Looks like he loves slashing to the rim.
* Here's an article from a Hayfield game where Wilson scored 32 points. Going off for 30+ is nice, but I bet this is what John Reilly likes best about the article: “When you play defense with pride and lock your man down, that’s what’s going to happen,” Wilson said. “So whenever we play together and good team defense, that’s what it’s going to be like.”
* Here's a photo of Wilson from his high school days grabbing a rebound. From that same game, here's Wilson shooting a jumper and battling inside. If you want to sort through a bunch of tiny photos from his playing days at Hayfield, just click here. But have some eye drops nearby.