Monday, September 26, 2011

Projecting Gannon's Prime Time Players

The Gannon roster is set. But what will be the playing rotation? Only John Reilly knows. Well, actually he doesn't even know yet, but we can speculate. One certainty is that the key players will be different from a year ago. Regulars Kelvin Agee (14.9 ppg, 37 threes), Travis Brannen (11.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Danard Crouch (7.1 ppg), Kareem Brown (5.6 ppg), Anthony Clagett (5.2 ppg, 49 assists), and Clinton Springer-Williams (1.9 ppg in 23 games) are gone.

Who will share playing time with F Stephen Battle (12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg), PG Steve Piotrowicz (7.1 ppg, 68 assists), and Tanner Furno (6.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg), if the lanky junior has recovered from a reported shoulder injury? We know it won't be Urbana transfer Robert Wilson who will redshirt this year after his former school wouldn't grant him a release and the NCAA denied Gannon's appeal.

Here's my WAG at Gannon's depth chart for this upcoming campaign. I'll take the rampant speculation a step further by predicting how many minutes each will get. Because I haven't seen 7 of these guys play, this analysis is for entertainment purposes only.
PG: Piotrowicz (32 min)
SG: Shameel Carty (25), Oscar Macias (15)
SF: Battle (32), Alvin Tucker (8)
PF: Dmitry Martynenko (24), Darrell Blanton (10)
C: Bubby Johnson (28), Furno (12)
Left Out: Brandon Belt, Adam Blazek, Eisenman, T.J. Wilson, Robert Wilson (redshirt)

* I feel like I need to apologize to the Left Out crew. They could be reading this and think, "What do you know about me, Howdy Doody? I'm a player!" Sorry, guys, maybe you will get tons of playing time, but right now I have to put somebody on the bench. Reilly has never rotated 13 players before and he's not about to start this season. Those in my rotation are either returnees, redshirts who practiced with the team last year, or newcomers with very impressive DI, DII or juco resumes.

* You can see I'm missing 8 minutes from the rotation. That's because I have no clue who will back up Piotrowicz at the PG position. The scholarship guards on the GU roster (Macias, Belt, and Tucker) don't seem to be PGs judging by their stats (low assists). I'm not too worried about those 8 minutes because I think Piotrowicz will be logging nearly all the PG duties; 32 mpg may be understated.

* I would imagine that 2 SGs or SFs will need to redshirt to avoid a logjam at those positions. Tucker and Eisenman redshirted last year, so I don't think they'll do that again. Carty is a senior, plus he sat out last year after three super seasons at Clarion, so I'm doubting he'd stay on the sidelines again. That leaves Macias, Belt, Blazek, and T.J. Wilson as redshirt candidates.

* I think there's an outside chance of one PF or C redshirting. If Furno's shoulder isn't 100% -- and he'd like to stay at Gannon for grad school -- he'd be the most likely candidate in my opinion. Blanton redshirted last year which leaves him out of the running. I've heard nothing but rave reviews about Johnson, so I don't think Reilly would put him on the shelf this year as the Knights scramble to get back to the posteason. That leaves Martynenko, but do you want a productive (15.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg at his juco) big man who stands 6-foot-8 serving as Gannon's biggest cheerleader? So back to what I said at the outset: a PF or C redshirting is an outside chance.

* A couple Gannon fans have commented to me on the lack of freshmen in the recruiting class (one -- preferred walk-on Blazek). Since I'm speculating on playing time, let me speculate on why Reilly may be shying away from high schoolers. At my company (Jameson Publishing), we almost never hire kids just out of college though they are the majority of applicants for our jobs. We've learned this equation the hard way: college does not equal work. College requires you to attend 15-18 hours of class a week; work requires at least 40 hours of attendance. In college, 8 AM is early; at my company, 8AM means you're a half hour late. Nearly 100% of the college kids we've hired don't make the adjustment to the professional world. You just don't know how they'll handle work. I think Riles has learned the same lesson. In high school, playing time is guaranteed, the competition is easy, mom tucks you into bed every night, and you rule your basketball program. It's a whole new game in college, and you have no idea how a kid will adjust -- especially when his coach won't ever let you take a possession off. In practice. I think Reilly will still sign the occasional Battle or Furno, both exceptional in terms ability and work ethic, but the days of an unproven freshman "class" may be behind us.

Click here for the team photo of the 2011-12 Gannon Golden Knights: Front row (L-R) -- Shameel Carty, Anthony "T.J." Wilson, John Eisenman, Steve Piotrowicz, Adam Blazek, Alvin Tucker, and Brandon Belt. Back row (L-R) -- Darrell Blanton, Robert Wilson, Dmitry Martynenko, Dytanya "Bubby" Johnson, Tanner Furno, Stephen Battle, and Oscar Macias.


  1. 1. I heard Furno can play. He's wearing some type of shoulder sleeve or brace. Time will tell how healed it is and how long he can play. So an off the bench role this year protects his shoulder and availability. With two other bigs, he may be more effective at the 4 spot on offense and defense since he will be going against players more his weight.

    2. I heard Steve got another concussion and is out for awhile - but have not heard how long. He may be back in action for all I know.

    3. I see Dmitry and Johnson at center with Furno and Blaton at the 4. Furno could play either 4 or 5 depending on the foul situation.

    4. Theses players are very athletic so I see a smaller unit altogether or 4 smaller players with just one big in.

    5. Who plays of the new players is always dependent on attitude and their desire to play defense. If one starts off being lazy or has an attitude, they may never get off the bench ... recent example was Rumph - he play like 8 minutes total last year.

    On paper we look darn good. In the gym, they look good. But we looked good on paper and in the gym before with not so great results. Hoping for the best though and can not wait for the season to start.

    Also heard the team is going to some tournament in Canada. I have to believe this will help in their preparations for game play. You can only scrimmage against yourself so long before diminishing return occurs.

  2. I see that Anthony Clagett is on the Slippery Rock Basketball roster.

  3. Bill H: You are correct on Clagett. Here's the evidence:

    Also ...

    Agee is now at Midland College in Texas and says he plans to try DI next year.

    Springer-Williams is back in Canada at Carleton.

  4. i don't know if there's any validity behind this but heard from a few people that Cliton S-W had to go back to Canada because of passport issues or something.. Do you need like a visa to be in the US from Canada as a citizen? I don't know, I didn't think so which is why I didn't really say anything when I heard this, but the fact that he's back in Canada made me wonder.. anyone know?

  5. Just read Agee's article... like the fact that he actually owns up to making a mistake and admits he needs to work on things off the court to make his talent even more noticeable. May have broke rules, but least he owns to it..

  6. Just confirmed today: The Knights will start practice this weekend and play exhibition games in Canada. Here are the details from the Gannon press release:

    The Gannon basketball teams will get an early start to the 2011-12 season this weekend when both programs begin preseason practices Saturday, October 1 at the Hammermill Center.

    The early start for both programs is allowed per NCAA rules due to preseason international tours in mid-October. The NCAA allows basketball programs to take international tours once every four years. As a result, the squads are allocated 10 practices prior to their international competition. All games during the international tours are exhibition games and will not count in the teams' 2011-12 records. The first official practice date per NCAA rules for normal teams without international tours is October 15.

    The Gannon men's team is scheduled to start its international tour Wednesday, October 12 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. The Golden Knights will play four more contests during the trip, but the remainder of the schedule will be announced when it is finalized.

  7. seems that John Eisenman has left the team
    on the ladies side Nettie Blake will get plenty of rebounds but needs to hone in on her put back skills