Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Maroon/Gold Scrimmage Memories Come Rushing Back

I just received a flyer in the mail from the Gannon Golden Knight Booster Club saying that the annual Maroon/Gold scrimmage will be held Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Hammermill. The men tip off at 7:15 with the women following at 8:15. This is "invite only" to booster club members and season ticket holders, but I'll make a deal with you if you don't fit into either of those categories. I'm inviting you to attend as long as you show up with minimum $25 in cash or a $25 check payable to the Gannon Booster Club. That will get you a membership -- and it will help out Gannon Athletics. And it will help you get a sneak peak at the 2011-12 Knights.

The one thing I watch for every Maroon/Gold game is to see if everyone who is healthy plays. I think I'm still the only human ever to be healthy for a 40-minute, full game-length intrasquad scrimmage and not see a second of playing time ... in my senior year no less! In 1991, Bob Dukiet divided us into two teams of seven with John Reilly, his top assistant at the time, and new assistant Rick Binder coaching each team. I was on Binder's squad and he was eager to prove to Duke he knew how to win games. So he rotated the other six guys on our team while I rotted on the bench. I recall after not playing the first half being surprised but thinking to myself he just wanted to see how some combination of players worked together. I'd at least get a few minutes in the second half, even just to give a guy a rest. But it never happened. I recall my chest pounding and stomach churning as the game wound down and I realized the only game all year I could actually expect to play was going to pass by with me sitting on the bench (and my entire family watching from the stands).

In the lockerroom I was borderline distraught. What I thought was my one-and-only chance of playing extended minutes in a Gannon uniform in front of real people with real referees at the Audi was dashed. Do you know what a dreadful feeling that is? I fought back tears while Dukiet gave his postgame speech, and then my teammates expressed in whispers how I was wronged big-time.

I never complained, but I think someone (I'd bet Coach Reilly) said something to Dukiet between the Maroon/Gold game and our exhibition the following week against some Gannon alumni. I subbed into that game with several minutes left on the clock and played with reckless abandon. What did I have to lose? I recall a 2-on-1 with Mike Runski on defense and Derrick Vinyard on my left. I looked right and flicked the ball underhand to Vinyard in the lane. First no-look pass of my college career -- practice drills included. A couple minutes later, Chad Spurgeon fired a long outlet pass to me near mid court on the East side of the Hammermill floor in front of Murderer's Row. I let the ball bounce once, took a right-handed dribble and drained a left-wing three just 5 seconds into the shot clock. Former Gannon SID Bob Shreve was on the PA microphone that night and shouted, "Threeeeeee for Jimmy Roddyyyyyyyy!" I have the video footage of that event (courtesy of the late Mike Warchol) and must have watched that stretch of action 200 times. OK, maybe 500 times.

Sorry if my personal story there bored you at all. It's just kind of cathartic for me to think back to my Maroon/Gold experience, how heartbroken I was at the time, and how thrilled I was to get playing time in the alumni exhibition the next week. I hope the Maroon/Gold game this year is filled with nothing but good memories for the Knights and us Gannon fans.


  1. I remember cheering for you Jimmy! :-)

  2. ** JH: Thanks for the support! The Gannon community has been incredibly kind to my family.

    ** The Erie Times has a photo album of our Knights practicing. Tanner Furno is wearing a brace on his right shoulder -- not a big surprise there. Stephen Battle has his left wrist taped. Does anybody have details on that?

    Check out the photo album here:

    ** PSAC media day was held today in Erie. Battle was named first-team all-PSAC West while the Knights have been tabbed to finished 3rd in the 8-team division. Here's the order: IUP, Cal, Gannon, Mercyhurst, Slippery Rock, Clarion, Edinboro, & Lock Haven.

    For Gannon's complete report on PSAC media day, follow this link:

    In his PSAC media day video interview, John Reilly reveals the Knights will scrimmage at Division I Buffalo on Saturday. He also mentions Gannon will play two more scrimmages but doesn't mention the opponents. I also liked how freshman Adam Blazek used the phrase "getting after it" in his interview. Bob Dukiet implored his teams to "get after it" on defense; Blazek must be a quick study.

  3. DII rankings are starting to be released. Dan Teliski emailed me the NABC/DII preseason rankings. Gannon was not listed in the Top 25 or Others Receiving Votes.

    Here are some teams of interest:
    #1 Bellarmine -- defending DII champs
    #6 West Liberty -- in Gannon's Atlantic Region
    #7 Findlay -- respect for the Oilers even without Ron Niekamp at the helm
    #9 Bowie State -- John Reilly's alma mater
    #15 Ky. Wesleyan -- they should still be on probation in my opinion
    #19 IUP -- only PSAC school in the poll
    #24 Arkansas Tech -- I take advantage any time I can mention the Wonder Boys, potentially the second greatest nickname ever. Centaurs will always be the greatest.
    Others Receiving Votes: GLIAC members Hillsdale and Grand Valley

    Where are all the PSAC schools? Where's the CIAA? Heck, where's the entire Atlantic Region?

  4. so question of the night... Is Bellarmine THAT good or is Louisville THAT overrated?

  5. So how exactly will closing off the M/G Scrimmage to all except paying boosters/season ticket holders help boost student attendance at the games? Commenters on here have lamented the lack of student support, but can you blame them when they arent even allowed to watch the team scrimmage without shelling out $25? If the boosters want to have a members-only after party in the cafeteria or something, perfectly fine. But you want MORE people watching the team/getting excited for the season, not less.

  6. Jeremy: The Maroon Gold scrimmage was originally a benefit for joining the Boosters. My understanding that this year it is open to everyone who wants to come. Students,boosters,season ticket holders and the general public.

  7. Anthony Clagett is no longer on the Slippery Rock roster. Anybody know what happen?

  8. From the GU sport web site in support of bob's comments:

    "ERIE, Pa. – The Annual Gannon Maroon-Gold Intersquad Basketball Scrimmages sponsored by the Gannon Athletic Boosters will take place Thursday, November 10 at the Hammermill Center. The event is open to the public and admission is free of charge."

  9. No signs of Carty at scrimmage vs. behrend... Anyone know what's up?

  10. rusty, but good!

    Macias is amazing! Listed as a 6'3 swingman, but easily could be the starting PG or the starting PF. He's got a great shot, great ball control/handling, great court vision, can jump, great defender, aggressive, always after the ball. LOVE IT!

    At first I was a little disappointed with Dmitry because he reminded me way too much of Truskauskas. He did, however, start to shine more in the 3rd period. Hit a jumper from just inside 3-pt line, looked more comfortable with the ball and without the ball, and got some great rebounds.

    TJ Wilson and Blanton are SOLID! Wilson jumped against Behrend's 6'9 kid.. and easily won the tip. All the boys can really jump!

    Most disappointing (to me and only in my opinion) - Tanner, Steve and Belt.

    Tanner - I've seen no improvement since freshman year. Was a good player and is still a good player. That's it. Maybe it's just the shoulder and maybe he'll be tremendous next 2 years...

    Steve - Behrend made him look like he wouldn't even belong at Behrend again. Blazek, Tucker and Macias all outshined him when it came to court vision, ball control/handling, setting up plays, etc. Tucker and Blazek are both inconsistent with shots and Steve and Macias both are good 3 point shooters. Pretty much every time Steve drove in he lost the ball.

    Belt - he didn't play much. I don't know if he's hurt or what, but was on bench most of the time. When he did play he looked alright.. hit a couple of 3's and grabbed a few boards, but nothing impressive. Maybe a few games in he'll get it.

    Johnson is scrappy, but has a lot of polishing that needs done. Shot, defense, etc. He definitely looks like a kid that is willing to work though; good to see.

    Oh.. and that Battle kid... yeah he was there haha Didn't stand out like he did last year, however, that's because everyone else around him was overall better than what he had last year. I'd say Coach Reilly recruited these players based on Stephen. Good choice. Oh, and he did stand out with awful old school mohawk hair cut haha.

    They won the first period by around 16 points (when I got there they were down 6-9; Behrend only managed to score 9 points the rest of the period).

    2nd period Gannon won by I believe 7.

    3rd period - Gannon was up by 16 when I left with 9 minutes to go.

    My projected line up
    1 - Steve (only because he's a senior/returner)
    2 - Macias or Belt
    3 - Battle or Macias
    4 - Blanton or Battle
    5 - Tanner or Dmitry

  11. Corey:

    They are very athletic bunch for sure.
    I don't think Tanner is a super-star player as Goldkamp was and as Tanner is compared to. Tanner has good skills and works hard at it and is more of a team player doing his role vs. and individual stand out. I do know that he was very limited in what he could do in the off season while trying to get his shoulder better. I know he could not lift (probably why his size is the same as last year) and could not play (maybe why his skills are the same). Steve is a hard worker and plays crazy hard but I think he is too small to be a super PG as you have noted when compared to the recent additions. Not sure Steve will start but he can be a game changer off the bench with his aggressive and hassling defense he plays.Belt just don't know or seen enough but he maybe one of the bench warmers. As stated earlier, not everyone will play. Dmitry strikes me more of a PF than a true back to basket post player BUT very glad he is here. He is bigger than Tanner and can handle opposing centers better. As you describe "Buddy" is what I heard when he signed, pretty good defender, good jumper/blocker and a little rough on offensive skills. Overall, I think this is a pretty good team and think they will be better than the 15-11 season last year.

    Hey, what happened to you regular posters like gannon74?