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.


  1. If thats the case about the NLIs, then I can understand more about what happens. Still odd why PSAC would post it but Gannon couldnt do the same.
    By the way, any reason that the last ten comments from the previous wall post were deleted suddenly?

  2. Gannon74: I have been out of town but before I left I attempted to reply to your comments. For some reason my posting did not take so I am trying one last time. I think I have figured out why you are not upset about how the Gannon program is going I think you are a closet Mercyhurst fan.

  3. Gannon74: You are right we have to quit living in the past. When looking at the 21 years before John came we had 15 years with over 20 wins (average 22 a year) and had 5 years with an average of 17 wins excluding Bob Dukiet's last year. Based on what you are saying we cannot expect that kind of success unless we get an assistant who can recruit ( your words not mine) and get lucky on some transfers ( my words) we have to except the status quo. I want you to know I would be thrilled to see John have the success of his three predecessors but unfortunately John seems to be very set in his way of coaching and in this day in age it does not appear to work year in and year out. Dean Smith said in his book every player was different and responded differently to coaching. When I hear John say that there just are not any players out there who knows what kind of commitment must be made to win ( yet other teams seem to find them and beat us) I do not see anything changing. It is time we old farts step down and live with our memories of the past. The young fans will now have to take over its just to bad at this time they are diguised as empty seats. You say who's to blame? Well if you hired a CEO to run a company that had the success this one did for 20 of 21 years prior to taking over then has 4 out of 6 years worst than all but one of those 21 years who do you blame the workers? You have no idea how much I would love to see John get on a role win games and keep players but unless we catch lightning in a bottle like we did for two years I do not see it happening and I hope I am wrong.

  4. Bob- Although I rarely completely agree with your comments, I usually find them interesting. Sort of an old school approach to things. However, I never thought you would stoop to accusing someone who obviously spends so much time following GU hoops of being a Mercyhurst fan. That's pretty low. I'm really surprised that you would make things personal instead of sticking to issues, as Mr. Roddy prefers us to do.

    You seem a little confused as to my feelings about how things are going. I, too would prefer that the Knights do a lot better. However getting upset about it isn't going to help. For me, it's more entertainment than it is life and death.

    It appears that Coach Reilly is still going to be the coach this coming season, and I prefer to remain hopeful that things will improve. If they don't, I'm relatively certain that we'll all know that a change could/should be made. Until then, why not stay positive and hope for the best instead of grousing that things aren't like they were back in (fill in the years) when (fill in the former coaches names) were here. It serves no purpose. That was then, this is now. Things have changed. For example, how many of the players from the '86-'87 national runnerups would even get into Gannon now and how many of them would be able to stay eligible?

    One clarification: You seem to infer that I am contending that the lack of a good assistant coach/recruiter is an excuse for Coach Reilly, but I mentioned that as an indicator of an obvious shortcoming in the program that has not been corrected since the coach that was responsible for bringing in Howard, Mosely, Lindsey, etc, left the program. Whatever strategy is being used for identifying, evaluating, and attracting prospective players is not working, and that is a huge factor in the current situation.

    I don't remember asking who's to blame (if it helps you make your point, feel free), but at no time have I blamed the workers (players). I may be unhappy with how things are, and we all know that the person in charge is to blame, but I'm not going to withdraw my support of the players and the coach as long as they are representing GU. The comments of so many of you sound as if you already have.

  5. Is the true measure of a coach his W's and L's? Do his former players who have graduated think highly of him? Did he have a positive influence on their lives? Did he help them become better students enabling them to graduate and become successful contributors to society? Did he turn kids completely off from basketball or force them to leave the University? Too many fans get caught up in the W's and L's and lose sight of what GOOD coaches try to do at the core of their teachings. They build solid, hard working young men who may not appreciate their style or high expectations now but will when they get older.

  6. Gannon74: You are way to sensitive my Mercyhurst comment was tongue in cheek becuase of your innuendoes that we (old guys) were living in the past. ( by the way I did not get insulted on your constant refrence we were old and living in tha past) I was upset by you saying that the reason for our lack of success was because times have changed. I do not think times have changed and if they have it has been for all Division ll schools yet they keep winning. I take a lot of pride in Gannon and feel we offer a great education, put a lot of resources into our athletic programs ( could be the best in the league) and have a very good fan base be it they are down right now. With this to offer I think the "good old days" could and should still be today. To the best of my knowledge all but Mike MacDougall and Mitch Smith graduated from the 1986-87 team. This is another thing disconcerting I would bet we are not graduating 50% of the recruits we are bringing in because of the turn over. When I ask a coach in the region who had a good player would he help Gannon and he says" yes but I would never recommend him to come to this program" that really hurts. I have said my peace and as I said before I really hope that John gets the program turned around and we get back to the "good old days"

  7. Bob said: "When I ask a coach in the region who had a good player would he help Gannon and he says" yes but I would never recommend him to come to this program" that really hurts."

    Does this coach elaborate? Is it b/c of the turn over rate? Not enough wins? Coach makes you play defense? Too academically challenging? Sounds like a good time to give a contra to their perspective.

  8. Bob-You're right that we have exhausted this subject. I, too, am concerned with the school's reputation and take pride in it (I am relatively certain I am closer in age to you that you might think). Just wanted to throw another thing out there that I heard recently that reflects poorly on GU and isn't the fault of the men's basketball program.

    I have heard recently that the women's program is about to undergo an exodus of players similar to what the men's program has been experiencing lately. If that indeed is true, isn't that a reflection on the school? If so, maybe there's something that the school is doing that contributes to this, and the basketball programs are suffering because of it.

    Any theories?

  9. Yes, its true. As many as 3 ladies are leaving last yr's team. I shutter to even say anything bec I've heard only from one source. Although reliable, I hate to be the one to introduce them by name.

  10. Now that I think about it and re-read the comments under this topic, I started thinking about players from the Region lately that could've helped Gannon. Obviously, someone feels that Adam Blazek could help. Other than that....I really can't think of anyone, given that they would still have to be able to get into Gannon in the first place. No offense to Erie County natives, but this area has not historically been a hotbed of basketball talent, and it has never been a place that sees a wealth of talented players with size.

    Anyone think of someone from the Region recently who would've been good enough to help GU if his high school coach would've "recommended" he come here?

  11. Good question g74...maybe the Torres kid out of East? I was hoping he would go to Gannon. Courtney Pulliam Harding (I think that's his name) looks a lot better to me now that Agee is gone.

  12. Bob as to graduation success, A number of those players may have finished at some point in time..

    But IT was my recollection that Jim Rocco was the only Knight to graduate while Chapman was the coach. A number of them finished later...

    As a student employee of the athletic department, that was part of the reason for Chapman's departure - the changing academic requirements were preventing him from getting the 'same' caliber kid into Gannon and he wanted to get while the getting was good.

    I know JB came back and completed his degree while an assistant but...

    But Chapman's graduation record should not be cited..

  13. Jim, Any Information on the girls that signed National Letters of Intent:

    Brittany Batts | Leesburg, VA
    Antoinette Blake | Jersey City, NJ
    Candice Hendricks | Randallstown, MD
    Jennifer Jordan | Plain City, OH
    Mollie Sebald | Broadview Heights, OH

  14. In my opinion, Torres was a maybe. His skill set would require him to play 4 or 5, but he may have been a little small to play there in DII. Would've been a possibility.

    As far as Harden Pullium, he has considerable natural ability and is extremely athletic, but he is also extremely inconsistent, very undisciplined (even Walkevich, who usually puts up with most anything from his players, suspended him a couple times this past year), takes a lot of chances on defense, and his shot selection is sketchy at best. No, thanks.

  15. Taking a look in the media guide at Gannon's all-time roster, here are the numbers on Reilly:

    Not counting the current players who as far as I know are still with the program, a total of 43 players have played under Reilly during his six seasons as Gannon's head coach (2005-06 through 2010-11). This includes the players he inherited from Slocum. Of those 43 players, 29 have left the program prior to their basketball eligibility expiring, while 14 have stayed through the end of their eligibility. That's less than one-third of them.

    Of Reilly's 43 prior players, the 14 who have played out their eligibility under him are Travis Brannen, Denard Crouch, Kyle Goldcamp, Pierre Howard, Demondi Johnson, Terrell Kittelberger, Cory Knight, Joe Lindsey, Vince Mosley, Alphonso Scandrett, Tyler Stoczynski, Aurimus Truskauskas, Darmel Whitfield and Dave Wilson. I won't list those who didn't, but you can see their names in Gannon's media guide at

    Of the 14 who played out their eligibility, not one played for a full four years under Reilly. One player on the current squad, Malcolm Woodbury, may become the first four-year player under Reilly, despite the fact that he rarely plays. You don't even need to examine numbers from other Gannon coaches over the years to know that none of them comes close to such numbers.

    I have no idea how many have graduated academically under Reilly, as this just addresses basketball eligibility.


    In his six seasons, Reilly's career record at Gannon is 105-67, a winning percentage of .610 wherein Gannon's all-time winning percentage (66 seasons), including the early years, is .641 (1128-632). Since 1980, Gannon's winning percentage is .676 (610-292) compared to Reilly's .610. Since 1980, Gannon coaches have won 20 or more games in 18 of the 31 seasons, a percentage of .581, while Reilly has won 20 or more games in 2 of his 6 seasons, a percentage of .333. Conversely, since 1980 all Gannon coaches combined, not counting Reilly, have had just one losing season (Dukiet's 1995-96 team was 10-16) while Reilly alone has had 3 losing seasons. No Gannon coach throughout the program's history, except Reilly, has had more than two losing seasons, while none since 1960 have had more than one.

    Probing deeper, examining Gannon's all-time scoring leaders, not one of Reilly's players is in the top 20, probably because nobody has stuck around long enough under him to score any great amount of points. Of Reilly's players, the highest on the all-time scoring list is Tyler Stoczynski, who is No. 25 (1,001 points), while next is Kyle Goldcamp at No. 33 (904 points).

    In addition, attendance has dropped considerably the past two years, and is now at a 50-year low, while the schedule has been drastically downgraded. Whereas not long ago Gannon was playing independent and tournament games against Division I teams and highly-ranked Division II teams, their independent and tournament schedule now consists of games against mediocre to poor Division II, III and NAIA teams. And then, this past year the Hammermill Center was dark for all but five days between the start of the season and the first of the year, something unheard of in the past. And yes, the coach makes the schedule.

    You can argue however you want about the reason behind these numbers, and form whatever conclusion you wish -- but I know what I conclude.

  16. I'm not sure, but I thought that Mark Demski, Preston Harris, and Richard Buckner played out their eligibility and/or graduated under Reilly, and those 3 were not listed on Lifer's breakdown.

    Whoever makes the schedule is limited by the shrinking number of games now allowed by the NCAA (GU was allowed 30 regular season games in 06-07 and just 26 last year)and the number of league games required. With GU committed to both the Miller Classic and the Porreco Cup, that leaves only a few independent games. You have to play at least a couple of those on the road or you'd never get anyone to come play an independent game here. I agree that the decision to play that one independent game in February during the stretch of the league season doesn't make sense, but that one game doesn't make that much of a difference. Prior league schedules, particularly back in the 80's, allowed for a lot more independent games. Now, the options for playing home games in November and December are limited. And, with the PSAC requiring 4 more crossover games starting this coming year, there will be even less flexibility to play indy games.

    No doubt that the schedule is less challenging, but the schedule-maker is also limited by the fact that other schools also have a lot fewer indy games on their schedule.

    As I keep saying, things have changed. It will never be what it once was.

  17. As shown in Gannon's media guide, Demski and Harris played three seasons, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10, while Buckner also played three seasons, from 2006-07 through 2008-09. None completed their final year of eligibility.

    As for the schedule, Gannon is no different than any other team, or Gannon teams of the past, as to the quality of teams they line up in their tournaments and independent games. The quality of the teams they play in these games has declined steadily during the past several years, and is nothing like it once was.

  18. Lifer, I understand a lot of your points, but the scheduling issue can't be compared to "back in the day".

    Even going back to the MECC days, there were between 6 and 8 teams in the league at any given time. A balanced home-and-home schedule leaves at least 10 independent games, minus 2 for Edinboro. Plus, lesser scrutiny allowed for a couple of things: the AD to offer incentives for higher quality teams to come to the friendly confines and marginal qualifiers to gain acceptance to the university. (not limited to men's basketball)

    It's fine to be dissatisfied, but using historical references to make your arguements can sometimes be dicey.

  19. Fanman, you can't substantiate your information yet state it as fact. You broach the subject yet won't name names. C'mon, man!

  20. I'd like to make a point with regard to local players being able to help out. Cleveland has SMAC developing young players, Pittsburgh has the Caveman and School of Hoops programs as well as a slew of others developing their kids, yet Erie has NOTHING for developing the basketball skills for our boys. We have the Erie Saints for girls, but again, nothing for the boys. So, do we have local kids that could help Gannon get closer to the "Glory Days"......No. Not tough kids who are fundamentally sound and can play in Coach Riley's system.

  21. On another note, has anyone asked some of the players who played for Coach Riley and graduated who are now parents or plan on becoming parents if they'd want their kids playing for him? I'd be curious to see what they say. Would there be a disparity between those who played for him as an Assistant versus those who played for him as Head Coach?

  22. I know that Stosh, Lindsey and Cory all speak nothing but praise for Coach Reilly. Stosh says Coach Reilly and Gannon gave him a 2nd chance; Lindsey said Coach Reilly let him play "his game" while incorporating him into Gannon's system and Cory says he learned a lot from Coach Reilly as well as Gannon. Also, he's mentioned before "how many coaches/programs would play two point guards under 6' at the same time... and they end up being leading scorers in games and leading rebounders in game". So yes, there are players who have great respect for Coach Reilly.

    And Demski, Harris and Buckner all graduated during Coach Reilly's tenure. Buckner, even though he played very limited time due to his recurring knee problems, was on the bench every game with the team, cheered for the team when they did something great, was always helping out and talking to the other players, and then walked on Senior Night. Harris forewent his senior year athletically and graduated in 3 years. Demski, who had horrible back problems, came back in his senior year to attempt to play. Demski and Harris both came and graduated during Coach Reilly's tenure.

  23. In defense of the schedule there are a few things that really prevent John from getting the type of schedule we use to have.
    1) Gannon has not added any money to their guaranty in years. When you have the increase in travel cost that has happen over the years top teams are going where they can get top dollar.
    2) You need to have that magical 20 plus wins for a chance at a at large bid.
    3) Games in your region carry more weight for a bid then out of your region.
    Putting this all together makes sceduling a lot tougher then it use to be.

  24. Boze.
    In the post just above mine May17th @ 2:35 gannon74 introduced what he heard. I responded with what I heard and am not willing to name names. I'll leave that to someone else, at least for now. I'm currently spending 5 wks in Tx so I'm kinda out of touch.

  25. A couple points:

    Last weekend, I had heard that a number (between 3 and 5) of GU women's team members were not returning for next year. At the time, I didn't hear any names, which is why I asked fellow blog followers if anyone had heard. I have a theory as to one of the names (a player that didn't play last year's last game, for no announced reason), but no one seems to know or will say, if they do know.

    You can't blame Reilly if Harris, Demski, and Buckner didn't play 4 years. Harris graduated. If he didn't want to hang around for another year and take Master's courses (particularly since he seemed to become less effective on the court as his career progressed), that doesn't fall on the coach. He graduated. Demski and Buckner didn't play 4th years because of injury. Both graduated. Can't count that against Reilly, either. They were both involved in the program at least 4 years.

    Boze, didn't GU play Edinboro just once a year back then, leaving yet another independent opening?

    Lifer, I don't know what you're trying to say by this statement- "As for the schedule, Gannon is no different than any other team, or Gannon teams of the past, as to the quality of teams they line up in their tournaments and independent games." Can you clarify what you mean?

    TKE, as far as local AAU programs for boys, that has always been a problem around here. About 10 years back, there were several boys AAU teams (notably the Erie Red Storm started by Jim Roddy and Jason Dolak), but most of those interested were involved only when their own sons were playing. Unlike the girls teams (besides the Saints, there are other girls teams like the Elite), no coach or organizer has emerged to lend continuity to a program. That's what it takes, as illustrated by the SMAC program, which has been in place for almost 15 years in Cleveland. It is run by a comparatively young man who I believe is not only a basketball coach, but pretty much lives the game, organizing many boys and girls teams in the Cleveland area and tournaments all over Cleveland and in other cities like Pittsburgh, Slippery Rock, and, this past weekend, here in Erie. I'm sure that is profitable for him because there are so many kids participating, he puts on so many events, and there are so many places in suburban Cleveland where he can run tournaments. No one like him that has the opportunity, resources, and time has emerged around here, for boys teams, anyway. Probably wouldn't be able to break even doing it, anyway-not enough kids involved.

  26. Since Coach Reilly appears to be the coach this year we can now return discussing recruitment. To date two guards signed LOI seemly to replace Agee and Clagett. TJ Wilson had .9 APG over 30 games played... definitely a shooter verse a passer and nice his HS coach says he can play defense, but doesn't mean much compared to how defense is played by Coach R. I doubt few HS programs play Reilly style defense and I hope this young man can step up.

  27. It doesn't matter how you count Harris, Demski and Buckner, the fact of the matter remains the same -- and that is, that an exorbitant number of the players who have played under Reilly -- many more than half of them -- have dropped out for whatever reason prior to completing their final year of eligibility. And no Gannon coach of the past, no matter what era, has had anywhere near as large a number as that.

    To clarify my comment about the quality of independent teams that Gannon now plays having declined, what I was saying was -- why should the present day Gannon team be any different than any other school, or Gannon teams of the past, as far as the quality of independent teams they line up to play? Not long ago, Gannon used to play much better independent teams in their tournaments, for example, and other schools similar to Gannon currently play much better teams, so why can't Gannon do the same? I really don't buy any excuses as to why the quality of independent teams on Gannon's schedule can't be better, other than the fact that it's easier to win.

  28. Lifer - Gannon isn't a really competitive D2 team now and some of the bloggers are calling for Coach Riley's head because of the team's record and players leaving. What advantage does Gannon have to playing teams that could blow them out of the gym and embarrass their current players? If I'm missing the point you're trying to make, I apologize.

  29. I've heard that more than half of the women's team is already gone...

  30. Lifer...


    While you may not like the numbers the fact is by raw #'s and percentages The fabled Tom Chapman had the absolute worst record for retaining and graduating players.

    As to the quality of opponents, you need to investigate, or read the old posts - I believe December, during the layoff - to get an idea for the reasons. Now you can accept Teliski's explanation or not, that is up to you. But for every quality opponent in a tournament we played Elmira, Allegheny College and others that wouldn't normally be considered 'quality'

  31. According to the PSAC website Dmitry Martynenko from Kirtland Community College has signed a letter of intent to play for Gannon. I have not seen any stats but I believe he is to be around 6'8.